What Happened When I Bought a Microsoft Mouse?

microsoft_mouseMy computer’s mouse sucks big time. It’s a Genius, and it seems like it was specifically designed to piss me off. Before starting its production, Genius administration had a meeting with the staff, which probably may have sounded like this:

“Hey, do you know that guy from Portugal?”
“Yeah yeah we know him. What about him?”
“Well, we need to piss him off.”
“Why?”
“No reason, we just need to do it.”
“But…”
“Sh sh sh! It’s already been decided. So, let’s hear some ideas.”
“Maybe… maybe we could build a mouse…”
“Yeah, like a terrible mouse that doesn’t work.”
“Yes, yes, a mouse that does a lot of noise when you click it.”
“And with a scroll that doesn’t work properly.”
“And with a terrible cable that pushes the mouse all around.”
“And with some hard rubbers so it won’t slide smoothly.”
“And we could design a software that makes the buttons work only once in a while.”
“Ohhh, I like the way this is going guys…”

And this is how my Genius mouse was created. I blame this mouse for most of the grey hairs I have on my head. So after three years I decided to buy a new one.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a computer shop browsing through all the different brands. I needed the mouse to do some work on Windows, so I thought “What’s better than a Microsoft mouse? Right? Microsoft is a good brand, and I need to work on Windows, so a Microsoft’s mouse is probably the best choice. Right? I can’t see any way this can possibly go wrong.”

Well, it did go wrong. Very wrong. For starters it did not work on Windows. What?? Yeap, you read it right, the Microsoft’s mouse did not work on Windows. Which is not a big deal. I just had to download a specific driver from a giant maze they call “official website”. And the best part? I got a new icon on my system tray. Oh I just love when they through a bunch of useless icons on that little corner of the screen. I really, really love it. Thank you Microsoft. Thank you so very fucking much for that.

The mouse itself was actually pretty good. Except for the buttons. I swear I was afraid to make a hole on my desk every time I clicked that middle button. Thank god I bought the “comfort” version. But who cares, right? It’s just the buttons on a mouse, it’s not a big deal. It’s like a car with a steering wheel that doesn’t rotate properly. It’s not the end of the world. The really annoying part was that every time I suspended the computer the mouse would stop functioning, and I had to unplug it and plug it again. I tried it on other computers and guess what? Same problem. I paid 30 bucks for this mouse, COME ON!!!

Strangely it worked flawlessly on Linux. No need for extra drivers, no extra icons, no suspending problems, plugged it once and that was it, worked perfectly. Linux sucks.

So this is what I did in the correct order:
1 – I went back to the shop;
2 – I exchanged the mouse for a wireless Logitech;
3 – I got half of my money back;
4 – And I wrote an email to Microsoft saying “Dear Microsoft, fuck you.”

What is the best part about my new Logitech mouse? It works. How nice is that? A mouse that you plug into your computer, and then it just works. Just like that. It looks like witchcraft or something.

At the end of the day it’s nice to know that Microsoft’s ability to drop huge piles of shit does not restrain itself exclusively on operating systems.

gob-microsoft-come-on

Trip to Lisbon – Day 2

Day 2

The second day was hot as hell. I was expecting to see the main touristic points in the center of Lisbon, but instead the certified female rally driver and her co-pilot toke me to Belém. It’s a lovely place where you can see the iconic Belém Tower and the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery, as well as the Monument of Discoveries and the famous “Pastéis de Nata Factory”. I was very glad to have someone who could drive me there, even if it meant being seen inside a car playing the Spice Girls really out loud, with the windshields down. I still can’t get that damn music off my head…

Padrão dos Descobrimentos The Monument of Discoveries was raised to honor the Portuguese discoveries, the greatest gift that Portugal has given to the World. There you can see iconic Portuguese people who, over the time, contributed to this great deed. I will write about that some day. The monument is located right next to the Tejo river. I also discovered that day that the Tejo river is know by foreigners as Tagus river, hell if I know why. I felt proud just for standing there.

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Torre de Belém The Belém Tower also can be found by the river. Going inside is not for free, and the ticket line was absurdly long that day. But then something wonderful happened. A foreign female tourist approached one of my friends and offered her ticket, while explaining how she had no time to visit the tower. We discovered later that the ticket was also valid for the Jerónimos Monastery, and we wouldn’t have to wait in any of the lines. Talking about having a good luck charm 🙂 The tower served many purposes throughout Portugal history, and is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos The Jerónimos Monastery is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s a great example of the famous Portuguese Manueline style. Please do not confuse it with “manual style” if you want to preserve some of your dignity. It is also very big. Very very big. We used the ticket, skipped the line, and toke a look inside. The place is magnificent. Here you can see a picture from outside.

Pastéis de Nata Last but not least we went to the famous “Pasteis de Nata Factory”. It is a sort of café where they make the best pastéis de nata in the world. I’m not exaggerating, hands down the very best pastéis de nata in the entire world. The rally driver gave me an history lesson about this little tarts. It seems like they were created by monks a long time ago. They used the white part of the egg to make clothing, so they had a lot of yolks to spare, and that was how the pastel the nata was created. If you don’t know what a pastel de nata is, please hang yourself.

The rest of the day was just wondering around and chill out. We saw a wonderful view point and had a couple of cold beers in a wonderful spot. Typical vacation routine. I was hopping to see the center of Lisbon the next day. But things didn’t work quite that way…

Trip to Lisbon – Day 1

Lisbon TramI am Portuguese and I’ve never seen Lisbon until last week. I spent five days in the capital, and I’m going to write a post for each day.

Day 1

The first day was pretty uneventful. I decided to go to Lisbon by bus because there was no way I was going to take my car into that chaotic mess they call traffic. I arrived during the afternoon, and had a friend waiting for me at the station who helped me figure out how to use the urban transports.

Later I hooked up with some other friends, one of which had a car, and she drove us for dinner to an awesome market. Trust me, there is nothing as hot as watching a Portuguese girl rampaging through the streets of Lisbon in a 16v VW with one hand on the steering and other on the gear shaft.

Later that night I decided to go out for a beer in the most famous place in Lisbon for this purpose: the Bairro Alto. It is basically a maze of narrow streets full of pubs. I met a friendly group of Italians and we spent the night “sharing” our cultures.

Right next to Bairro Alto there is a wonderful viewpoint where you can see the whole city. We stayed there for a while beholding that magnificent sight. I felt butterflies in my stomach while imagining how it would be to walk those historical streets during the next day.

But the next day was holding some surprises…

Miradouro Sao Pedro Alcantara

Why I Hate Shopping Centers – Reason 1

Shopping Center Logo If you read my review about the movie Fury you will know that I profoundly hate shopping centers. There are several reason for this hate, and I decided to post one every week. Enjoy.

Reason Number 1 – The Zombies

Zombies generally walk in hordes, and tend to block entire corridors, specially when you are in a hurry. They are actually normal human beings who are completely unaware of their surroundings, and walk like they have a fucked up muscle disease.

This is how they operate: first they assemble a group of zombies, then they chose a long narrow corridor full of people rushing from both sides, then they organize themselves in order to block the whole corridor, and finally something extraordinary happens in their brains…

I’m not sure what exactly is that goes on in their brains, but I guess it must be something like this: “Hey, what am I doing? Oh, wait, I’m walking, sooo… how does walking works? Oh, I remember, I have to move my legs! Wait, is it both legs at the same time or is it one after the other? Mmm… I think it’s one after the other. Ok, I’m going to move one leg, but which one? Mmmm… mmmm… I’m going to move the left leg first. Ok, it’s decided, I’m going to move it now. I’m going to move my left leg right now. Here it goes… wait for it… wait for it… almost… done! Wait, what was I doing?”

To deal with zombies you have to follow this instructions: first say “excuse me”, then wait for them to turn their heads around, then wait for them to realize they are obstructing the way, then wait for them to slowly move a little a bit to the side, and then pass through them as fast as you can before they decide to eat your brains.

I’ll be honest with you, when I’m in a hurry and I find myself behind this zombies I feel a strong urge to smash their heads with an iron pipe. Hey, don’t judge me, I’m not a bad person, and isn’t this the best way to kill zombies after all?

Shopping Center Main 01

Fátima – A brief article about my hometown

Fátima-logoI was born and raised in Fátima. Located in central Portugal this small town is a true magnet for religious people, and it is worldwide known. Nevertheless some of you may be wondering what makes Fátima so special. Well, instead of writing a whole page of history I’m going to show you an excerpt of a conversation I had a couple of days ago with a cherished friend. This small excerpt pretty much sums up the whole story:

Once upon a time
(in 1917 to be more specific)
three kids told everyone that a miracle was going to take place on a certain day
so thousands of people from all around Portugal came to see the miracle
and guess what? People did saw a miracle.
Normal cultures would have associated this case with UFOs and forget all about them,
but because this is Portugal they said it was god, and a sanctuary was built.
Since then, on every May 13th, many catholics from all around the world gather around in my hometown to make noise, cause car accidents and litter the streets with garbage.
The end.

Nowadays Fátima is full of small souvenir shops, and by souvenirs I mean religious related stuff. This town doesn’t have parks or recreational places, so if you live here you won’t find any good place to walk your dog, or stalk girls jogging in their leggings. Every square feet of green grass have been substituted with a souvenir shop.

In almost every shop you can find postcards, crucifixes to hang on a wall, crucifixes to hang on your neck, crucifixes to hang on your ears, crucifixes to hang on your wrists, crucifixes to hang in your car, lighters with the holy virgin stamped on it (which probably reduce the chances of lung cancer), and pocket knives with a stamped Jesus (in case you want to give someone a holy stab).

In some shops you can also find several things made of wax, like small holy Marys and baby Jesus, or even parts of human bodies, like hands, feet, and heads (which is not creepy at all), and if you look well enough at the back of some shops you can also find wax asses, that is right, wax asses, try saying it out loud. Selling wax asses is one of the few things in life that makes perfect sense, because who doesn’t want to have a wax ass on a shelf right next to a family picture?

I almost forgot, the town also has a big sanctuary. Inside you can find a church (dah!), a gold museum, and almost exclusively for priests there is also a canteen that puts some of the finest restaurants in the country to shame. Right next to the sanctuary you can also find a relatively new chapel that cost the modest quantity of 8 million euros. Inside this giant chapel you won’t find anything to see, except giant doors made of bronze and a big altar covered with four different kinds of gold. There is also a place where people burn candles to pray for their loved ones. The wax from this candles is then reused to make more candles, or some other things. In the rest of the town you can also find several houses for nuns, where you can take shelter for a night, if you’re willing to pay them well enough.

And that’s everything there is to say about Fátima.
Oh, did I mentioned the souvenir shops?

Fátima-main

The Babadook – Finally a good horror film

The Babadook - Poster “If you touch my son again, I’ll fucking kill you!”

It was my brother who recommended me this film. He told me “You should see that horror film, the Mr. Baradok, or Babaruk, or Babadick, or something like that”, and I thought to myself “He doesn’t even know the name? Hell, it truly must be a very good film…”

The actual name is The Babadook, and it turned out to be a very good film indeed. It is the first long footage of the Australian director Jennifer Kent. The film takes place in a quiet suburban area somewhere in Australia, and it follows the story of a single mother trying to cope with the loss of her husband, while struggling to educate her troubled son.

It has been described by many critics as one of the scariest films ever made, but honestly I didn’t find this film that scary. It is indeed rated as an horror film, but in most parts it feels more like a psychological drama. It deeply explores raw human emotions like grief, hate, resentment, and the impact they have in the relationship between a mother and her child. This is what truly makes The Babadook a disturbing and unsettling film.

The main character is played by Essie Davis. An actress well known in Australia for her charismatic role as Miss Fisher, but here she plays a completely different character. She takes the role of a single mother who carries a tender yet tortured soul. Her performance in this film is magnificent to say the least, and I’m not exaggerating, hands down brilliant acting.

The film is well produced, it has a solid screenplay, it’s beautifully shot, and it doesn’t rely on special effects or scare jumps. What makes this film scary is the slow paced atmosphere build through out the scenes. It’s definitely not like the typical American horror films we have seen in the last years, The Babadook is smart and intelligent, and even if it doesn’t scary you, at least you can’t deny its cinematic quality.

In the end The Babadook is a sad moving story disguised as a psychological horror film. A great example of what the Australian cinema has to offer.

The Babadook

Coherence – Rearrange Your Brain

Coherence Poster“There is a cat in a box that has a fifty-fifty chance of living…”

When I first heard about Coherence I managed to get my hands on the film, but during several months it just laid in a corner collecting dust. I had forgotten all about it when I recently stumbled on it, and decided to give it a try. I had no expectations, actually I didn’t even know the genre or the plot. I was completely in the dark when I hit play.

It turned out to be some sort of science-fiction footage, but without the spaceships and laser weapons. It also mixed a bit of horror, drama and suspense. A perfect formula for a late night film. The plot is quite simple, a group of friends decide to gather for a dinner party on the same night a comet is crossing the night sky, which triggers a series of strange events. That is all I’m going to write, and I would recommend you not to search deeper into the plot, because during the film you never know more than the characters do. I was immersed, confused and frightened just like they were.

Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit, this was his first major picture. The film had a low budget, I read somewhere it was around 50.000 dollars, and believe me that’s really low for a full length picture. Furthermore it was shot only in five nights and many dialogs were improvised. Nevertheless this film is a proof that you don’t need a big budget, famous actors, or special effects to make a good science-fiction film, or simply a good film for all that matter, all you need is a good idea and a competent crew.

Coherence is one of those enjoyable surprises, and it surely deserves more appreciation that it has.

Coherence