lunedì, gennaio 26, 2015

Ireland 2015

Outbound flight bought.
Inbound flight bought too.

So, Ireland will be real, after all, this May 2015. A little more than 2 weeks, in a foreign country, alone, driving around and camping somewhere.

If I'll say that I am scared I'd be lying, but worried, yes. It's a long time that I've not been around alone in a foreign country, alone, driving around and camping somewhere. A long time, like... forever?

Arrival in Dublin, departure from Cork.

The first draft of the trip is here below...

Still a lot of things are not chosen. Like... were to sleep? For how long hike in the parks?
But the first step is done. I've got 2 tickets, one to go, one to come back... let's the adventure begin!

lunedì, dicembre 22, 2014

An amazing bunch of friends

I just got back to Italy, for the first time I'll be working from "home", meaning, this time, my parent's home!

I am quite excited about this opportunity. I want to see how it feel to sit next to my father while he translate and I work. I know, by the way, that luckily it will last only 1 week... because more... hey! It's still my parent's place, I can't stand stay in the same place for so long!

But it's not this I was going to write about. I was on the bus, taking me from the airport to the train station, and I was looking outside, remembering other times I went back on the same bus and some melancholy struck. And when melancholy strikes, you never know where your mind will go!

And mine started thinking about my childhood friends... those that were really friends, not for just a season, but for long years, the same friends that you still think about in rainy nights... and when you meet everything starts right after from it stops when you left. I am a lucky person and I've got a bunch of them (and one that left... and it still hurts, but she is with us, everyday!). And I was thinking where we are today, those handful of friends that between 14 and 20/23 where so close that almost we could have called ourselves brothers (and sister...).

There is me, in Amsterdam, speaking 4 languages, having changed life and career 3 times. But I was the dumbest one when we were young too.

One is a Chef, and a quite good one, mark my word. Who lived in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, worked in an amazing hotel, studied Japanese... well, an amazing person (whom I will forever thank for hosting me when I was completely lost).

One is the best seller I've ever seen... had a striking career in hospitality, lost everything, and get back on top in 2 years. Never able to rest, quite annoying, if I have to say... but helped me in one of the darkest periods of my life. And the f**king bastard lives in paradise!

Then one is a lawyer, who opened a winery, created a market, got "robbed"... and is about to open a new one.

One is a plumber... who builds his own stereo systems from scratch, who kites (-surf), who has a manual instinct to build/repair whatever he comes across.

One has a pastry shop... and that's already enough... because he is the one making them.

Well... now that I wrote what we did... maybe we are not so special. But I am honoured to think that I can call them "friends".

lunedì, dicembre 01, 2014

Two words on: Ferguson and United States of America - Ferguson (part I)

Here I come, writing my second dangerous post.

So, I tried to slip away from this subject and indeed, in the past months, I've talked about Ferguson only once, in a brief discussion with my father, that lead to nothing.

But the truth is that the situation in Ferguson is not improving, the situation in the USA neither and that a lot of information has been thrown against the viewer and a lot of different opinions have arisen.

I try to stay away from opinions, as somebody may have noticed, when I write or talk officially. I love opinions when I speak and discuss with somebody, as long as it's agreed that they are opinions (personal or common).

Anyway, in the case of Ferguson what struck me is not the opinions, but the simplest facts.

Here they are:
  • a 18 years old man has been killed on the 9th of August
  • the man was shot 6 times by a police officer
  • the man was unarmed
  • the shooting occurred at mid-day, on a open street
  • the police officer was on patrol alone
I know that there are a lot of more facts, that a lot of talking, witnesses and everything else have been said and done.

But I would simply like to focus on these 5 points. The sadness of a lost life, a kid, all of that I will not take into account. Neither the fact that he was black, the police officer white and so on. All of this is not important to this discussion.

I think that the horror of everything that happened is already there, in those 5 points. A police officer felt the need, or the urge, or was so scared or whatever to kill a human being in full light, with no evident threads and for no apparent useful reason.

Police should protect unarmed people from dangers, not be a danger by themselves. Police should not shoot people, at all. But if they should shoot, at least there should be a physical need for it, to restrain, stop a fatal danger to hit people. And even in the case that police should shoot, they should be able to shoot with skills and with confidence, and without losing control.
In this case, without having to dig deep into what happened, the first thing that I cannot stand is that a police officer shoot at somebody, in plain light, with no obstacles in between, who was unarmed. That should not happen. That was not good policing.
Why did the police officer shoot? Because he felt in danger? Because he felt that a dangerous people was escaping and would have caused harm to other people?

Something like this should not happen, not in a civilized country, not in plain day light, not with a police officer involved. If the police is not able to protect people, well, the worst that can do is shoot them. There is no excuse on that.

But here I begun entering into the opinions field, and I said I wouldn't. So I will go on, but what I feel are facts and what I feel are opinions (and, of course, this is already an opinion...).

fact: the man carried no weapon
fact: there were no impediments for the police officer to see that the man had no weapons.
fact: the police officer shot dead the man, with 6 or more shots

opinion: I strongly believe that the police should not shot and, worst, kill any unarmed person
opinion: I have the feeling that the police officer got carried away because enraged or scared and thus shoot too many times
opinion: I have also the opinion that he had nor the mastery of the weapon he was carrying, neither the training to effectively use such weapon
opinion: I have also the feeling that he initiated a confrontation when there were no need of any

fact: the police officer was alone on patrol.

opinion: police officer should never go alone on patrol. Too much risk, too much power in their hand to be left alone in what can be a dangerous situation, they need to be 2, that can help each other and that can give the other relief and security.
opinion: as it is now, 1 officer alone on patrol can only lead to problems, for himself, and for the community.

fact: a police officer killed a man

opinion: in my world police protect people, never kills them. In my world if somebody is guilty of some felony,will be captured by the police, brought in front of a judge and fairly judged

These are my opinions, those are part of a bigger thought I have had in the last weeks... I'll go on about this later, probably.

domenica, novembre 23, 2014

Buachaill on Eirne, or how I fell in love with Ireland again

I was working today, and chatting with a colleague about work, at one point (we did not know each other) I asked her where she was coming from and it turn out it's Ireland.

So, lets remember about old times and... which was that song? I searched my music library for Clannad and... here it is!

But the colleague point me out to another version from Corrs

And I was lost... from there it has been a long afternoon of listening to the same song in so many different shades (this is the list), and then Mo Ghile Mear...

and then  Oro Se do Bheatha 'Bhaile

and so down to Sinead and Tell me Ma

But to this there is no end...So I'll leave you with a good mention:

martedì, novembre 18, 2014

My long lost passion

I just thought that I have never posted a photo of my beloved motorbike... when I had one. And the sad truth is that I have almost no photos... so sad. But here it is, with a much younger me... and a dead Santa...

Interstellar: what goes and what goesn't... ehm... doesn't go! [part I]

So, I watched the movie, enjoyed it (you should already know, by now, having read this) and I read about it on I 400 Calci (in Italian, but simply wonderful site on movies).

I want to (and will) go to watch it a second time (this time I'll chose a not Imax theatre, a really nice one: The Movie, in AMS), as a lot of things I've lost (thank you damn Texan accent!) and some I've probably already forgot.

But having read about the movie and talked with friends about it, I fell that I want to line down the things that didn't worked so well, weren't so clear or simply... I didn't appreciated much. And also what, on the contrary, was working. All of that... by my own opinion, obviously!

So, from now on is SPOILER ALERT!!

1. We are at some point in the future, not too much... but where the hell all of the mobile phones have gone?
1.1 and what about Google Maps (or any other such service)? Do you really need paper maps to look for NASA? Really? It's '95 again?

2. Ok, we got it, there is a problem with dust. So, any other way of keeping it out of houses other than... having windows and doors that really shut things up?!?
2.1 Your kids are dying from this dust, no way of setting up masks so that when they are outside (since inside... doors and windows should shut the dust outside...) they don't inhale the dust?!?

3. Crops are dying... of what? Really? We have lost the ability to  create GMOs which could withstand whatever it is it's killing them???

4. We cannot protect ourselves and our children from dust, but building a huge space station that leave orbit from the ground... YEP! No problem! (Even before the resolution of the formulas by McConaughey's daughter).

5. No cell phones, no Google Maps, but a laptop with directional antenna to hack a flying drone... YES!

6. Space station with gravity thanks to centripetal acceleration due to station rotating on it's central axe. You dock 2 identical shuttle in the middle, and you dock them so that the floor is on the inner side?!? Why? Do you enjoy being shot out of your seat when unfastening your seat belt?!?

7. Ok, you are in a hurry, but at least scan the planet where you are to land for, let's say, 1 hour? Just to learn that it's covered in water or it's simply an ice desert?

Ok, that's it for now... waiting to watch this movie for a second time...

venerdì, novembre 14, 2014

Interstellar or... f**k it, Nolan... you got me! Science it's not credible enough, better study MAGIC!

I just got back from watching Interstellar.

No other way to put it. I LOVED it!

Let me be clear: there are bullshits around the whole movie and it's far from a perfect one. But I went out of the theatre and could just think: I just saw the new "2001 - A space Odissey".

Of course I can be wrong... or better... I am sure I am wrong. But I really enjoyed this movie. Again, with all the stupid problems it presents (why, tell me, oh! Why, they cannot build better ways to protect themselves from... dust?!?!? Or why they are still using petrol for cars? And Google Maps!?? Where Google Maps has gone, by God!!).

So, go out there in the wild and watch it! Is a wonderful way to spend 3 hours of your life!

Unless... unless you think that building a fucking Ark that fly through space (and, most importantly, leave the gravitational pit of Earth from the SURFACE) is less probable and believable then rupturing Space-Time continuum!

Yes... It's so strange for me to think about that as a huge problem in a movie as it is so difficult for some of my friends to try to believe it! It's magical! It's Harry Potter's style (thanks Ale... this is yours... hehehe)!

The comments from my friends help me understand that Physics have gone so far in studying our universe that people sees it as MAGIC. It has happened before, a lot of times, but I thought that we were now past the Witches' hunt at least since the XX century. But evidently the last developments of Physics are so far away from the normal understanding of nature that it's easier to believe, in a movie, that a guy got bitten by a radioactive spider and got superpowers than that time is not linear and mono-directional. Or that maybe there could be different Time dimensions (not to mention more-than-3-space-dimensions universes...).

Who knows who is right I don't know. But these are interesting times, and the movie is as good as a movie should be!

domenica, novembre 02, 2014

Two words on: buy a new mobile phone (Jolla)

It has happened.

After 3 years and some months, my wonderful, gorgeous, amazing Nokia N9 told me: "I am dying, I am slowly dying... forgive me!"

I will, I will forgive you, my sorrowful friend... but I will never forget you!

After years of buying a new phone every 12 months more or less (HTC Magic, HTC Wildfire, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10), the Nokia N9 was the first smart phone I really enjoyed, appreciated and kept with me for 3 years. With all of its defects (few apps, thanks to Microsoft and its slowly killing of Nokia and quite immediate extermination of Meego, slow processor compared to newer devices, and something more) and its more numerous merits (it's an amazing phone).

But now the time to abandon it and replacing it come quickly... one day it didn't turn up... and it was gone. I could still use its basics functions because I installed Sailfish OS on it almost 6 months ago, but it was clear that I should have reset the Meego installation from scrap... for me it was the signal: time to buy a new one.

So, which one? Some Android device, that's for sure, Apple ones didn't even enter the competition (openness, costs, openness, costs were the 4 reasons why they didn't... ah! And openness!), or Firefox OS ones? Or Tizen ones? Unfortunately phones with Firefox OS are low end, and I wanted a smart phone with good skills. And even more unluckily there are no Tizen phones around. So... which phone?

Well, well, well. The truth is that there were no story from the beginning, there were not even competition. The phone I would have bought was the Jolla.

There are phones with better specs, that's for sure, maybe better looking (I am not sure), maybe better built (I don't know). But there were no way I would have not bought it.

What's Jolla? Jolla is the company (and also the name of their first phone) that people that left Nokia after Microsoft bought it created from scratch (not that much from scratch, they were experienced people). They used the same OS as the one in my beloved N9, Meego, and developed it into the Sailfish OS.

So a good reason to buy a phone from them is that they are amazing people, they are a small company (always good to help small companies), they have a lot of experience (they come from the former leading company in phones: Nokia), the phone is amazing. It's not a good reason, it's a lot of good reasons.

The phone arrived last Thursday. I bought it with the leather flip and walnut case (let's call them like that) that you can see in the site and in the video. I simply love it. Sailfish OS is a good OS, it's based on Linux (like Android is), it's fast and reliable. The phone doesn't drain the battery like a lot of other phones do. I've used it for 2 whole days, internet and everything, and it was around 15% when I connected it. There are natives apps that are nice, but not a lot of them. But the nice thing is that a lot of Android apps can be installed and work as charm on the phone.

I could not make a photo of the phone because I have no other devices working, but I'll photograph it with my camera sooner or later. It's wonderful, have you understood this?

giovedì, ottobre 23, 2014

Amsterdam: 1 year (plus 1 day)

AMSTERDAAAAM AMSTERDAAAMMM... ce ne andiamo tutti insieme tutti insieme ad Amsterdam!

One year has passed. I will not say that it has been quick. It has been, on the contrary, full of long days and long nights. Not most of them, but a lot of them. It has been a quick change in life that I was not expecting to do, and that I didn't wanted to do. But it has happened. The change, actually, begun some time before, but the 22nd of October has been the start of My Life, part 3.0 (or whatever other number, I changed life so many time that I don't know at which version of myself I am at now). After a month of pure desperation (1 week, actually, than thanks to some amazing friends, things started getting better) I was ready to arrive in a complete new city, with almost no friends (one, just one friend) and no knowledge of the language and the people, ready to start again from the ashes. Ashes of what? Of myself. Again and again. Funny thing, I am really good a that (there is a wonderful song from Ben Harper, Learn it all again tomorrow: "Turns out what I am good at doing, is making something out of the ruin").

Well, the beginning has been hard at times, but not that much, I must say.

Met a wonderful person the first night I was here, met wonderful people during the months I've lived here. It's a good city this to start from scratch.

And now a whole year has passed. I've got a nice apartment to live in, a good job and really good co-workers, some really really new good friends, a guitar (I've always got a guitar, come on!!), two chords... ok, I am joking. I've got almost everything I need except... except... hahahah!! I will not say it, but yes, you know that I miss you.

But also that will change; slowly, time will pass and life will take a new course. For today, 1 whole year plus 1 day after arriving here, I must admit that I am quite happy about my situation and my life. I maybe am not yet fulfilled, but again, that will come and in due time.

Happy Amsterdam-B-Day to ME!

martedì, ottobre 07, 2014

Two words on: diets

Since I was a kid I have always been thin. But real thin. Then I reached the "teens", the twenties... and kept on being thin. I have been trying to get to 60 kg (I am 1.70 m, with a lot of hope... meaning, I am more 1.68/1.69) because I was playing football (the European kind of it) and I was lighter than a leaf.
Finally at 24 (thanks to the military... !!) I reached 61 kg and my life changed for... about 5 months. Then I comeback to training and down again to 58 kg.

To keep it short, at one point, around my 30ies, I reached 62 kg and stayed there, then 63, 64, 65... and in the last 2 years I have been around 67/68 kg. I bit too much, if I have to say, but still.
Then last August I've been on holidays for 3 weeks, 3 whole weeks in Italy, 10 days at my parent's, 10 days at a friend's house... a Chef friend's house... and his restaurant.

Again, to keep it short. Last day of holidays, I am at my parent's house and we are eating lunch (you know? Mamma's lunch...) and, don't ask me why, I decided to check my weight... 72 or more (yeah, I was dressed up, of course... but it was summer, no more than 2 kg)!!

Shocked, I was shocked. Ok having some fat around the belly, ok looking as a fighter of the oldest of the sports, but... 70!!
Don't worry, I was not thinking: "OH GOSH!! Look how fat am I!!!!" and crying in my bed. I just thought: "I've been living 20 years of my life or so around 60 kg, now I am at 70 kg... it's a bit too much".
So I decided that I had to get back to weight around 63/65. I am doing sports, playing football once a week and training at least 1 hour 2 times a week, I am living in Amsterdam and biking around so it's not that I am not having a healthy life. It's that I am eating too much!

Having thought that, having decided that 70 was too much, I made a plan: 1 month and I'll have to be 65 (5 kg in 30 days). And than I split it more: 1 week and down to 67, than stay there for 1 week, than another week down to 65, and than stay there for 1 week... and it's done! Easy, no?

I know that my body needs energy to work, energy means food, but I also know that, since I am a bit overweight, I have already that energy stored somewhere in me (around the belly, my dear, around the belly...). So, in order to lose weight my body needs to consume the fat instead of consuming the food I ingest. Of course I could have checked the daily need of calories of a man my age and my size and all of that things. But there was an easy way. In the last months I have been gaining weight (not that much, but I did) so I simply had to eat less (assume less calories).
Pasta in the evenings? Great! How much? before it was a full dish, now it will be half of it. Or none.

What I really did was stop eating outside (I was eating in restaurants/pubs twice a week...) and eating an apple any time I was hungry, or a banana, or a kiwi.

Breakfast: some cookies.
Lunch: a sandwich the days I had to play a football match, or else an apple and a banana.
Dinner: some pasta (once or twice a week) or an apple and a banana if I ate something during the day.

When I was hungry? Always. Sometimes, to relieve the hunger, I would have eaten some more fruit (and sometimes a cookie or two... I have to admit!). And once a week I ate out with some friends (normal eating, so like an animal as usual!).

Did it worked? Like charm. I am now 65/66 kg, I was 67 after the first week. It's been 4 weeks since I started, and now I just want to get to 63/64 kg and I am fine, but I'll take it slowly, now.
So, what I meant to say is that: do you want to lose weight? It can be done. Don't trust all of those diets and shits. Simply eat less. How much? It depends on you? Do you want to lose it quickly? A lot less (but still, something, we still need it...). Change some food with fruits, they give you strength, they fill your stomach and so you will not feel the hunger. Keep it up for some weeks, you'll manage it! 

My knees are happy, my ego is happy...

Side note: if anybody reads this and want to do the same... please first check if you really need it! Eyes are not honest... sometimes we seems to be fat to ourselves and it's not true! I knew I was a bit overweight because I've bee weighting 10 kg less for all of my life... be careful...