Saturday, June 13, 2009

Farewell post

It is with some regret that I announce that I will no longer write any posts here.

The reasons are:

- I have had very little time to pause and write original stuff, which was the aim of the blog in the first place

- I have been using Facebook as a primary means of communication and opinion, and it has been working well. Facebook allows me to have the best of orkut (photos, private messages), twitter (short status), and blogger (notes, links) all in one place. Gradually I have been using all the others much less.

I guess the catalyst has been the Facebook username. I started it in the first few minutes of usernames being available - hence got myself a pretty useful link ( So I will cease posting here at blogger - but some of the features I used to include here will be shifted instead to Facebook. Things like my football predictions, what I'm listening to, so on and so forth. My Facebook page is public (at least the notes and status posts) so it should work out fine.

All in all I should remember this as a phase in life. A phase in which I thought I had an urge to communicate how I felt about stuff that I cared about. What started as a chronicle flirted with becoming a place for my personal view on world affairs. I relished most the football and music commentary, and I hope all readers enjoyed it. But as you could see, in the end I was just posting links and videos - which Facebook, I believe, handles best.

Does this mean I no longer have an urge to share stuff that I care about? Absolutely not. The urge is still there. It has never left - I've been updating Facebook constantly, not to mention posting comments in some of my favorite content providers such as The Guardian. It's just that times call for a different medium - just as in 2006 times called for me to switch MSN spaces for blogger.

Thanks for the worldwide audience (which I could track with the Who's Reading This gadget on the right side). It was really an honor and a pleasure to be THE source for searches on the lyrics of "Woman of the Ghetto". For 2 years, if you googled "Woman of the ghetto lyrics" the only page appearing was mine. And the other guy who appears now in the google search clearly copied me, because he keeps a typo I had!! I must have received a dozen congratulatory emails on posting these lyrics from ear.

If any comments are made to any of the entries, I'll still read them - I'm not terminating the blog, just pausing it. And as I said, I'll be reachable over Facebook (okay being repetitive now... so let me close this off).

Thank you and goodbye
Obrigado e até mais
Gracias y hasta luego
Merci, a bientôt

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A seemingly candid and heartfelt handshake

I have a positive feeling about this relationship.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Three-year travel plan

When I moved back to Brazil in 2006, after a year full of traveling, I knew that any opportunities for non-business long-haul trips would become scarce. So I should really focus my traveling efforts to go to places that would be worth it, trying not to repeat places or go somewhere too similar to where I'd been already.

With that in mind, I set out to devise my first 3-year travel plan: 5 places that I should try to visit over a 3-year period. My list in early 2006 consisted of:

New York City
Macchu Picchu
Madrid and Barcelona
South China (Yunnan)

Three years have just gone. I ended up visiting NYC on new year's day 06-07 and Macchu Picchu in new year's day 07-08. Moscow was covered in a business trip in 07, but I could do a fair amount of sightseeing as well. The latter two choices just did not materialize (I chose to ramble around countryside Argentina for new year's 08-09).

So now it's high time I devise the second version of my 3-year travel plan. I have to put a bit of thought into it.

What I do not want is:
- cities where the only leisure is the urban life (restaurant-museum-disco-shopping). Got plenty of that in São Paulo already.
- too touristic beaches
- too much underdevelopment (Mumbai slum? hm... maybe in another 3-year plan)

What I probably want is:
- cultures I have never had contact with - e.g. the Muslim world
- extreme faraway places where you just sit and gaze at nature
- cozy, midsized cities - in the mould of, say, Hamburg (by the way, the more I go to Germany the more I enjoy it)
- places where I know locals who could show me around

After a bit of Google-Earthing I came to the following places:

1) A glacier - either Patagonia, Norway or Iceland
2) A paradise island - either Noronha (Brazil), somewhere in the Caribbean, the Phillipines, or Polynesia (Cook Islands perhaps)
3) A hiking expedition - either Chapada Diamantina (Brazil), the Santiago de Compostela trek in Spain, or the Alps
4) A wine tour - either Chile, California, Italy or France
5) Ancient cities, especially if in a Muslim country - perhaps Turkey, Syria or Iran

So many places to visit.
So little time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Keith Moon

Just genius. Plain genius.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mid season

Time for my first musings of the year. And why not start with my favorite pastime - English Premier League?

By now it's probably commonplace to say that this is the most exciting EPL season ever. So excuse me if it offends for being repetitive, but I just can't hide my awe. And especially today, since just by looking at the table a lot of things strike out:

- The 4th placed team (Villa) is 3 points behind the first (Man U) - i.e. could be tied in points in the next round (note that this will only last a handful of hours, since hopefully tomorrow the Reds are going to crush Everton and move to 2 points clear of United!)

- There are FIVE teams tied at the bottom of the table. In fact, yesterday Spurs were last, and had they defeated Pompey earlier today they'd have moved to 12th!

- Stamford Bridge is no longer a fortress - even Stoke almost nicked a win! By the way, I've grown accustomed to actually enjoying Rory Delap in action.

- Amazing away runs from Chelsea, Villa and Everton (all won more on travels than at home). On the opposite, Man City scored 25 home goals (2.3 per game) but have a dismal away record (with only one win)

I could go on and on but it probably wouldn't make for interesting reading. Let me just say that as much as I would love Liverpool to win I don't see it happening. The home draws to Stoke, West Ham, Fulham and Hull will eventually hand the title to Sir Alex in a silver platter.

But hopefully, I've always been crap in predictions (bar Euro 2008!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pedro Music Awards 2008

Right. Following tradition, 4th year and running of my musical picks of the year. As usual the list ranks albums I got ahold of and songs that marked my year.

I was trying to write something deep, well-though-of and thorough, but after too much wrangling, procrastination and, why not assume, utter laziness, I gave up trying to do something complicated and decided to simplify the list.

Some observations over my 2008 musical behavior:

- I purchased less albums than 07, 06 and 05; also, dowloaded actually zero new albums.
- I ventured less frequently into impulse acquisitions of unknown artists (as compared to purchases of, say, Charlotte Gainsbourg or Fela Kuti in previous years). When I tried it this past year, it was either not good (e.g. Osunlade) or good, but not remarkable (e.g. Alicia Keys)
- As a consequence of previous point, have purchased mostly compilations and soundtracks.
- I caved in and am listening to more and more pop. An influence of a stint in England with only BBC Radio 1 in the car, definitely, but also an acknowledgement that mass may be good.

Contrary to the previous editions, I will limit my list of albums to 5, and the list of songs to 8 (songs which were not in the top 5 albums).

Music - Albums
1. Blue Note Trip - Movin' On
2. Into the Wild Soundtrack
3. Gilles Peterson in the House
4. 5 na bossa - Nara Leão, Edu Lobo, Tamba Trio
5. The Departed Soundtrack

Music - Songs
1. American Boy - Estelle feat Kanye West
2. Mika - Grace Kelly
3. Let's make love and listen death from above - CSS
4. Mercy - Duffy
5. I Kissed a Girl - Kate Perry
6. Men señará - Bebe
7. 1973 - James Blunt
8. Paper Planes - MIA

Call me sold, but that's what I heard in 08. Can't lie.

But one of the first things I saw on TV in 09 was a documentary on The Who - so who knows I get back to my rock origins?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Season's greetings

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What I'm listening to

Powerful, pleasant, truthful quality pop.

"No One" has probably already played too much, but it's still good. But the rest of the songs also display a sort of Motown-esque smoothness you won't find in other RnB divas of the day (Rihanna, Mary J Blige, etc).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Congo awareness

Mandatory viewing on the subject - the most terrifying conflict happening today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Power on Sergio, at Colbert

I've been watching a lot of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart recently - not yet to the point in which they are my most reliable newssource (as it is for some people), but still, they're fun and informative.

And sometimes you have good thought as well. For instance, here's an interview from a great scholar (and close Obama adviser), who's written a book about one of the greatest Brazilians ever.

By the way last month's Esquire magazine had a fun (though slightly cheesy) profile of Ms Power, focusing on their wedding to a fellow prominent scholar to create what the author called "the Brangelina of academics".

Friday, October 24, 2008


This posting-videos-about-the-election thing is addictive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Local Sports Franchise Pandering

I've been watching Daily Show over the internet every day, sometimes twice a day.

Like this snippet. "Et tu Messiah?" - brilliant, brilliant.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A day at El Bulli

One can only imagine what happens inside El Bulli.... this video tries to explain it, but then they can't film inside and we're left with descriptions.

The sight of Jay Rayner and his friend leaving the restaurant was a bit like someone having looked into Pandora's box. Or the chick from Blair Witch returning from the forest and realizing they were all doomed anyway.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nightclubs are hell (??)

This is not recent, but very good writing and food for thought. I share some of the guy's points - how many times haven't I felt out of place in a night club? who hasn't? - but I must say that, overall, I've had more good experiences than bad ones in night clubs. Three things are the norm though - 1) it sucks if you're not with friends 2) it sucks if you're not with money 3) 1 and 2 are invalid if you pull.

Anyway, enjoy.

Nightclubs are hell. What's cool or fun about a thumping, sweaty dungeon full of posing idiots?
Charlie Brooker
The Guardian, Monday August 13 2007

I went to a fashionable London nightclub on Saturday. Not the sort of sentence I get to write very often, because I enjoy nightclubs less than I enjoy eating wool. But a glamorous friend of mine was there to "do a PA", and she'd invited me and some curious friends along because we wanted to see precisely what "doing a PA" consists of. Turns out doing a public appearance largely entails sitting around drinking free champagne and generally just "being there".

Obviously, at 36, I was more than a decade older than almost everyone else, and subsequently may as well have been smeared head to toe with pus. People regarded me with a combination of pity and disgust. To complete the circuit, I spent the night wearing the expression of a man waking up to Christmas in a prison cell.

"I'm too old to enjoy this," I thought. And then remembered I've always felt this way about clubs. And I mean all clubs - from the cheesiest downmarket sickbucket to the coolest cutting-edge hark-at-us poncehole. I hated them when I was 19 and I hate them today. I just don't have to pretend any more.

I'm convinced no one actually likes clubs. It's a conspiracy. We've been told they're cool and fun; that only "saddoes" dislike them. And no one in our pathetic little pre-apocalyptic timebubble wants to be labelled "sad" - it's like being officially declared worthless by the state. So we muster a grin and go out on the town in our millions.

Clubs are despicable. Cramped, overpriced furnaces with sticky walls and the latest idiot theme tunes thumping through the humid air so loud you can't hold a conversation, just bellow inanities at megaphone-level. And since the smoking ban, the masking aroma of cigarette smoke has been replaced by the overbearing stench of crotch sweat and hair wax.

Clubs are such insufferable dungeons of misery, the inmates have to take mood-altering substances to make their ordeal seem halfway tolerable. This leads them to believe they "enjoy" clubbing. They don't. No one does. They just enjoy drugs.

Drugs render location meaningless. Neck enough ketamine and you could have the best night of your life squatting in a shed rolling corks across the floor. And no one's going to search you on the way in. Why bother with clubs?

"Because you might get a shag," is the usual response. Really? If that's the only way you can find a partner - preening and jigging about like a desperate animal - you shouldn't be attempting to breed in the first place. What's your next trick? Inventing fire? People like you are going to spin civilisation into reverse. You're a moron, and so is that haircut you're trying to impress. Any offspring you eventually blast out should be drowned in a pan before they can do any harm. Or open any more nightclubs.

Even if you somehow avoid reproducing, isn't it a lot of hard work for very little reward? Seven hours hopping about in a hellish, reverberating bunker in exchange for sharing 64 febrile, panting pelvic thrusts with someone who'll snore and dribble into your pillow till 11 o'clock in the morning, before waking up beside you with their hair in a mess, blinking like a dizzy cat and smelling vaguely like a ham baguette? Really, why bother? Why not just stay at home punching yourself in the face? Invite a few friends round and make a night of it. It'll be more fun than a club.

Anyway, back to Saturday night, and apart from the age gap, two other things stuck me. Firstly, everyone had clearly spent far too long perfecting their appearance. I used to feel intimidated by people like this; now I see them as walking insecurity beacons, slaves to the perceived judgment of others, trapped within a self- perpetuating circle of crushing status anxiety. I'd still secretly like to be them, of course, but at least these days I can temporarily erect a veneer of defensive, sneering superiority. I've progressed that far.

The second thing that struck me was frightening. They were all photographing themselves. In fact, that's all they seemed to be doing. Standing around in expensive clothes, snapping away with phones and cameras. One pose after another, as though they needed to prove their own existence, right there, in the moment. Crucially, this seemed to be the reason they were there in the first place. There was very little dancing. Just pouting and flashbulbs.

Surely this is a new development. Clubs have always been vapid and awful and boring and blah - but I can't remember clubbers documenting their every moment before. Not to this demented extent. It's not enough to pretend you're having fun in the club any more - you've got to pretend you're having fun in your Flickr gallery, and your friends' Flickr galleries. An unending exhibition in which a million terrified, try-too-hard imbeciles attempt to out-cool each other.

Mind you, since in about 20 years' time these same people will be standing waist-deep in skeletons, in an arid post-nuclear wasteland, clubbing each other to death in a fight for the last remaining glass of water, perhaps they're wise to enjoy these carefree moments while they last. Even if they're only pretending.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What I'm listening to

Absolutely outstanding soundtrack to an absolutely outstanding movie.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Palin and Clinton at SNL.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My new bookshelf

Still work in progress. But becoming cool. Especially with Super Homer.

Furniture by my dad.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Cup takes

I followed today the draw for the group stage. As the song says, 'shivers down my back bone'.

Groups A and B are simple bets. Chelsea and Roma, Inter and Bremen to go through.

Group C is ridiculous for Barcelona, and I see Shakhtar (with all their second-rate Brasileirão rejects) pipping Sporting to the second place.

Group D is tough, but exciting. October 22 - Liverpool x Atlético, Torres's return to Vicente Calderon, is the most anticipated match for me. I think they'll both qualify, anyway.

Group E looks like certain that will fall in to the hands of Man United and Villareal. Celtic did scrape through last year, when they also were in United's group. I wouldn't put money on them repeating the feat with such a well-round Villareal side here.

Group F looks the toughest to me, and I think the matches will be the hardest-fought, but I don't realistically see Fiorentina or Steaua qualifying.

Group G may come as a surprise to Arsenal. Fener are the same team from the quarterfinals last year, less Kezman, plus Guiza - i.e. a better side imo. I fancy them to go through first with Arsenal second.

Group H looks awesome - three very hungry teams with a point to prove. And poor BATE debuting against their neighbors in a local derby from Soviet times. My take? Real first and Zenit second.

Btw, the new site is quite good. Looking forward to Fantasy Football.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What I'm listening to

Men señara

El aire se retira
Huele a tierra moja
Mi perro duerme a mis pies
Él cuida de mi hogar

El tiempo se para aqui
Mi amor está a punto de llegar
El tiempo se para aqui
Aqui encuentro la paz

Las curvas de la carretera
Me invitan a viajar
Hay tanto por recorrer,
Tanto por conocer

El mapa se hace pequeño
mi alma pide más
Mi amor llega en la tortuga
El me lo enseñará

Me enseñará
La voz del mar
Me enseñará
A no llorar

Me enseñará reconocer
Que hay daños que te enseñan a crescer
Me enseñará a ver sus ojos
Aunque él no esté

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

South Ossetia isn't Kosovo

I must confess I still haven't finished reading God Is Not Great (stuck at around 2/3 of the book after almost a year), but, alas, I just love Christopher Hitchens's prose.

He excels again at this forceful article about the ongoing conflict in the Caucasus. In it, 'Hitch' offers us, yet again, what he does best: combining his vast knowledge of international affairs with his exquisite writing and wit, to come up with fact-based analyses that uncomplicate the complicated.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Looking forward

Woody Allen kicks ass again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Premiership Punditry

So following my amazingly precise Euro prediction (which I sadly failed to capitalize monetarily) I am about to produce my punditry on my favorite championship of all - that's right, English Premier League.

How apt that I should start writing this while in the UK, albeit very briefly. The day I start this post (July 29) is the day Liverpool has announced Robbie Keane, therefore renouncing on Gareth Barry and possibly shaping our tactical strategy for the season.

That was also the day I caught up with my pal Ken, the cab driver, the avid Wycombe Wanderers fan. He's really upbeat about his team's chances in League Two (fourth division), perhaps they will finally climb to League One and face mighty (and Nasty) Leeds.

Honestly, I wish I could make as bold a prediction as last year, when I tipped the Reds to the title, but I do not feel I can. If anything, to set expectations low. And last week's match against Standard, at the amazing Liege stadium I visited last year my my friend Jan, was no exciter either.

If Rafa sticks to my preferred line-up of


Arbeloa-Carragher-Agger-Fabio Aurelio



, at home games, we will probably win precious points instead of the turgid draws last year against the likes of Birmingham. Switching to a 4-2-3-1 with Alonso in the middle for away games would also be shrewd.

Problem is, it is not too different from last year, is it? And especially given Chelsea adds a guy like Deco to its already preposterously strong midfield. I don't see this Chelsea playing so badly at Anfield as last year. I totally see Chelsea a cut above United now they have a top class coach.

My next favorite teams are Spurs. Their arguably best starting XI is salivating even for Arsenal/Liverpool standards:


-A. Hutton-Woodgate--L. King-G. Bale-

--------Huddlestone - Jenas----------

Bentley - Modric - Giovani dos Santos


Elsewhere, I see good things coming from Villa, Portsmouth, and Sunderland (again! last year I though Keane would be better) and not so much from Everton, Man City and Blackburn.

Anyway. No blogging punditry would be complete without a final table. Following last season's tradition (), here goes my list.

1. Chelsea
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester United
4. Tottenham Hotspur

5. Arsenal
6. Aston Villa
7. Portsmouth
8. Everton
9. Sunderland
10. West Ham

11. Manchester City
12. Newcastle
13. Blackburn
14. Middlesbrough
15. Fulham
16. West Brom
17. Wigan

18. Bolton
19. Stoke
20. Hull

FA Cup final: Man united x Aston Villa

League Cup: Chelsea (I mean, their reserve side is better than almost all other teams)

Champions League final: Chelsea x Inter Milan

Uefa Cup: Tottenham x Atletico Madrid (seriously, Atleti will fall from CL, now or later)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blame game

Right. Weeks of unprecedentedly toiling work prevented me from posting here, but that doesn't mean I've been oblivious to what's going on. Especially when I figured how to embed this video down here:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Being hip

There's an interetsing interview-cum-profile of CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy) at today's Observer.

Not only does it shed some light into the minds of terminally hip musicians, it also gives a glimpse of how it was like to grow up in São Paulo in the nineties (ie my generation).

Plus, they're so cool. I definitely recommend.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Renewable sources

Brilliant, from "The World is Flat"'s Tom Friedman in the NY Times.

Visiting Israel sounds cool.

People vs. Dinosaurs By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Tefen Industrial Park, Israel

Question: What do America’s premier investor, Warren Buffett, and Iran’s toxic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have in common? Answer: They’ve both made a bet about Israel’s future.

Ahmadinejad declared on Monday that Israel “has reached its final phase and will soon be wiped out from the geographic scene.”

By coincidence, I heard the Iranian leader’s statement on Israel Radio just as I was leaving the headquarters of Iscar, Israel’s famous precision tool company, headquartered in the Western Galilee, near the Lebanon border. Iscar is known for many things, most of all for being the first enterprise that Buffett bought overseas for his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett paid $4 billion for 80 percent of Iscar and the deal just happened to close a few days before Hezbollah, a key part of Iran’s holding company, attacked Israel in July 2006, triggering a monthlong war. I asked Iscar’s chairman, Eitan Wertheimer, what was Buffett’s reaction when he found out that he had just paid $4 billion for an Israeli company and a few days later Hezbollah rockets were landing outside its parking lot.

Buffett just brushed it off with a wave, recalled Wertheimer: “He said, ‘I’m not interested in the next quarter. I’m interested in the next 20 years.’ ” Wertheimer repaid that confidence by telling half his employees to stay home during the war and using the other half to keep the factory from not missing a day of work and setting a production record for the month. It helps when many of your “employees” are robots that move around the buildings, beeping humans out of the way.

So who would you put your money on? Buffett or Ahmadinejad? I’d short Ahmadinejad and go long Warren Buffett.

Why? From outside, Israel looks as if it’s in turmoil, largely because the entire political leadership seems to be under investigation. But Israel is a weak state with a strong civil society. The economy is exploding from the bottom up. Israel’s currency, the shekel, has appreciated nearly 30 percent against the dollar since the start of 2007.

The reason? Israel is a country that is hard-wired to compete in a flat world. It has a population drawn from 100 different countries, speaking 100 different languages, with a business culture that strongly encourages individual imagination and adaptation and where being a nonconformist is the norm. While you were sleeping, Israel has gone from oranges to software, or as they say around here, from Jaffa to Java.

The day I visited the Iscar campus, one of its theaters was filled with industrialists from the Czech Republic, who were getting a lecture — in Czech — from Iscar experts. The Czechs came all the way to the Israel-Lebanon border region to learn about the latest innovations in precision tool-making. Wertheimer is famous for staying close to his customers and the latest technologies. “If you sleep on the floor,” he likes to say, “you never have to worry about falling out of bed.”

That kind of hunger explains why, in the first quarter of 2008, the top four economies after America in attracting venture capital for start-ups were: Europe $1.53 billion, China $719 million, Israel $572 million and India $99 million, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Israel, with 7 million people, attracted almost as much as China, with 1.3 billion.

Boaz Golany, who heads engineering at the Technion, Israel’s M.I.T., told me: “In the last eight months, we have had delegations from I.B.M., General Motors, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart visiting our campus. They are all looking to develop R & D centers in Israel.”

Ahmadinejad professes not to care about such things. He was — to put it in American baseball terms — born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. Because oil prices have gone up to nearly $140 a barrel, he feels relaxed predicting that Israel will disappear, while Iran maintains a welfare state — with more than 10 percent unemployment.

Iran has invented nothing of importance since the Islamic Revolution, which is a shame. Historically, Iranians have been a dynamic and inventive people — one only need look at the richness of Persian civilization to see that. But the Islamic regime there today does not trust its people and will not empower them as individuals.

Of course, oil wealth can buy all the software and nuclear technology you want, or can’t develop yourself. This is not an argument that we shouldn’t worry about Iran. Ahmadinejad should, though.

Iran’s economic and military clout today is largely dependent on extracting oil from the ground. Israel’s economic and military power today is entirely dependent on extracting intelligence from its people. Israel’s economic power is endlessly renewable. Iran’s is a dwindling resource based on fossil fuels made from dead dinosaurs.

So who will be here in 20 years? I’m with Buffett: I’ll bet on the people who bet on their people — not the people who bet on dead dinosaurs.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Euro punditry

If only I had put some money on Man United winning the Champions League by the time I predicted it, I would've struck gold. Alas my Premier League punditry was not precise but not so far either - I missed the point at Liverpool, Spurs and Wigan, got it right for Everton, West Ham, Sunderland.

Anyway. Now let's turn the page for a different tournament. It's Euro time.

This is not the most relaxed of times for me (loads of work) so I'll be brief:

Out of Group A: Portugal, Czech
Out of Group B: Germany, Croatia
Out of Group C: Italy, France
Out of Group D: Spain, Russia

1/4 finals: Portugal def Croatia, Germany def Czech, Russia def Italy, Spain def France

Semi finals: Germany def Portugal, Spain def Russia

Finals: Spain def Germany

Spain champions

(yeah, I know that's bold, even more with them defeating the French... anyway that's my guess)