✱ So after a long wait, I was finally able to watch the Tetris movie. It took me 15 days longer than I wanted and some connection problems with the Apple TV+ service happening exactly at the same time when I decided to use my free trial, but I got it — and I don’t regret having watched it. Very good movie!

✱ This week I was finally able to finish working on my yearly income tax. In Brazil, all taxes are submitted electronically via internet, and citizens have between March and May to send in their data. Normally, I submit everything in the first weeks of March so I can receive any restitutions earlier, if applicable, but exceptionally because last year I changed jobs, it took me a little longer to gather all the information I needed. The important thing is that, now, all is solved.

✱ I finished reading my seventh book this year. It’s “A Guerra da Papoula”, the Brazilian Portuguese version of The Poppy War, by R.F. Kuang. In general, despite of some ups and downs I enjoyed the story, which presents a nice plot and premise, and is actually distributed in a trilogy, from which this is the first book. With the second book already published here, the publishing house responsible for the Brazilian editions of The Poppy Wars has already declared the third and final installment of the series will be out in the second half of 2023.

✱ It made me really glad to learn, this week, that Desktop Dungeons: Rewind, the sequel I so very much anticipated to Desktop Dungeons, not only was finally released on April, 18th, but also offered free of charge to people like me, who owned the original game. Thus, I didn’t need to spend a nickel and already accumulated a couple of gameplay hours. Fantastic news!

✱ I couldn’t believe when I found out my corporate credit card had been cloned. It had just arrived and the only things I ever did with it before the incident were buying a plane round trip to Rio de Janeiro and booking a hotel there. Only a couple of days later I received a credit card purchase notification through the phone informing me of an unknown, unauthorized purchase. Fraud. I’m about to travel on business and the perspective of traveling without my corporate card really scared me, even more after the bank told me a new card could take up to 15 days to arrive. Card blocked, it was really a relief to receive a new one only 2 days after my contact. This means I’ll be able to properly travel. ☺️

✱ This last Friday, April 21st, was a holiday here in Brazil, when we celebrated Tiradentes’ day. He was the main representative of the Inconfidência Mineira movement, which fought for Brazil’s independence from Portugal. He dedicated himself to pharmaceutical practices and dentistry, earning him his nickname. “Tiradentes” means “tooth puller“, a pejorative denomination adopted during the trial against him, after the Inconfidência Mineira movement was dismantled and he was sentenced to death by hanging, in 1792, 30 years before the actual Brazilian independence from Portugal happened, in 1822. History apart, I took this extra day off to rest, read, and watch some TV series. And it was really nice!

✱ Our Easter Sunday started different: my younger son broke our frontdoor key in half when trying to open it in the morning and one of the halves remained stuck inside the lock. So, besides a visit from the Easter bunny 🐰 we were also visited by the locksmith. Result of the Sunday: lock fixed and lots of chocolate. 🍫 😋

✱ “Opúsculo” is a word in Brazilian Portuguese, meaning “a very short book” or “a small work”. I learned about it reading a opúsculo, named “Como fazer inimigos e irritar pessoas” (something like “How to make enemies and irritate people”, as a free translation to English). It was free last Sunday on Amazon, as announced by Henderson Bariani, the author himself. As the name suggests, it’s a manual for the misanthrope to avoid making friends and to lose the one they (might) have. Now, I’m not a misanthrope myself (and the finest example of one for me is Gregory House), but I like to read such books so they can surprise me. And this one did surprise me. I might have misanthropic characteristics, because some of the tips offered by the author seem like things I do.

✱ Now, I normally don’t talk about people that I’ve started following on Mastodon, but Daniel Albu deserves an exception: he’s a freelance game developer from whose posts I found out about the Electronika 60 Tetris version playable from the web browser. Browsing his feed is like going back to my childhood, with Monkey Island, Space Quest, Duke Nukem and Sam & Max, besides soooo many games that fill my heart with fond memories. ❤️ Fantastic.

✱ I’ve paid a very welcome discounted price for a lifetime license of Clozemaster, at 50% off the regular price — all because I had decided to quit the service. They sent me an email with this limited time offer and, as I like their approach, went for it. Now I can keep learning French and any other languages offered without ever having to further pay for it ☺️.

For sometime already, now, I’ve been pondering the possibility of creating a linklog and making it available to my site visitors. I’ve even recently mentioned it in one of my weeknotes. I use Raindrop.io to store all the links I find worth visiting later, but that’s different, because much of what I keep there is kept for very personal and/ or professional reasons.

What I do want is to share what I find serendipitously: an interesting story, a good looking website, a very promising software tool or a video that meant something nice for me, among other treasures that are hidden, buried deep inside the four corners of this enormous sea that is internet.

That’s why I’ve decided to experiment: I’ll stop saying I want to do that and start doing it. I’m going to create posts named Links, because that’s what they’re supposed to contain. There, every once and then, I’ll share these interesting pieces with you, in the hope they’ll enrich your web surfing experience and, also, be like messages for my future self once I decide to take a trip down what I’ve collected. I hope it’s something enjoyable, for me and for you.

People who know me in person (and with whom I’ve already talked about TV series) know my belief that House M.D., which aired from 2004 to 2012, is not only the best medical series ever, but also the best series ever. I quite enjoy the main character, Gregory House — portrayed and, IMHO immortalized by English actor Hugh Laurie — for every trait he carries: his cynicism, his narcissism, his curmudgeonry. Even for his being a misanthrope.

House, while stating his misanthropic condition

Misanthrope, by the way, is a word I’ve only come to know because I watched House M.D. a lot. A misanthrope is someone who has made it their general practice, or general state of being, to hate other people. That is a person who has feelings of general dislike and distrust of humankind.

Skip to last Sunday, when I found out a small gem of a book (well, not exactly a book, because its author, Henderson Bariani, called it a opúsculo, Portuguese word that means “a very short book” or “a small work”), called “Como fazer inimigos e irritar pessoas” (something like “How to make enemies and irritate people”, freely translated to English by me), which was free for the day at Amazon, and that revealed itself to be, again as stated by the author, a manual for misanthrope people who believe they have too many friends and are interested in losing some of them, so they can better dedicate to the art of isolation and being on their own.

Now, despite all my admiration for Gregory House (and other famous, fictitious misanthrope characters, like Sherlock Holmes), I’m not a misanthrope myself. One, though, might think I have misanthropic characteristics, because after reading Henderson’s book — all the 29 pages which do make it a opúsculo —, I noticed, of course it is above all and everything a work of humorous relief, but also that some of his suggestions are things that I usually do, or, at least, would like to put in practice.

For instance, the author teaches how to annoy people with WhatsApp. In Brazil, WhatsApp has become so ubiquitous that I sometimes believe some people have totally forgotten it’s possible, for example, to call a person using the phone line. Everyone here, from dentists and butchery houses to doctors and locksmiths, has a WhatsApp contact. It’s so present that it’s difficult to ask people to move to Signal ou Telegram, because gosh, they have never heard about them most of the time. According to the author, to annoy people and turn out having less friends, a simple trick is to say you don’t have WhatsApp, and add “Sorry, I only use Telegram”, or then, “can you give me a call?”.

Why even laughing at the suggestion and identifying myself with it I’m not a misanthrope: I have a strong desire to use Telegram, Signal and other messaging apps. But the problem lies exactly in this ubiquity WhatsApp has in Brazil. Virtually no one I know wants to change apps, and they usually turn their noses at my suggestion. So, I keep hoping one day Telegram or Signal becomes more popular than WhatsApp. As to using the author’s suggestion to have less friend, nah. I’m a very social person and I like the (few, admittedly) friends I’ve got.

Another point mentioned by the author for those who want to become more misanthrope, is the usage of complicated and/ or not-well known words. According to him, people are intimidated when they see someone speaking in a more complicated way, but are usually ashamed of admitting it. So, instead, they develop a certain anger towards people who speak like that, what could potentially contribute with the goal one could have of diminishing their number of friends.

Why even laughing at the suggestion and identifying myself with it I’m not a misanthrope: I not only read a lot (a habit, by the way, the author also mentions as something that could irritate people, the average Brazilians specially, because our country is not one of many readers — thus, making me an outlier in my own country), but also have the habit of solving many crossword puzzles out of something I’ve early in my life learned with my mother. This makes me know a lot of different, uncommon words. On the one hand, this admittedly makes me write better, and I love it, because I love writing (there’s even a name for this need to write a lot ASAP, it is ). On the other hand, it doesn’t mean I do it publicly, or as a means to look down on someone. I like to teach some of these words, in the same sense people also teach me other words, but that’s it. No intention to irritate anyone with my vocabulary, even because no one knows every word out there, and learning new words, for me as a lifelong learner, is a bliss.

Last, but not least, the author included in his book a chapter specially dedicated to irritating young people. I have two teen sons, and reading such chapter automatically triggered, let’s say, personal memories. The book mentions the usage of old, unused slang as a means to irritate young people. Slang of the old people, more simply put. I could tell you not to sell me a dog for example, and maybe that would irritate you. There are, in Brazil, lots of expressions from my parents’ time, such as “ora bolas” (something like “why!” or “for Christ’s sake!“, expressing surprise, in English) or “supimpa” (something like “razzle-dazzle” or “cool” in English) that my children don’t even know, or that feels odd to their ears. It doesn’t actually irritate them, but when I use these, they call me old (LOL). While I’m writing this it’s almost possible to hear them, “Dad, you’re soooooo old“.

Why even laughing at the suggestion and identifying myself with it I’m not a misanthrope: Using old slang and other things I do with my children is part of our relationship, and by playing with them this way I feel our relationship grows and remains close. It’s just one of the ingredients, but that’s an important one. My children will call me grumpy sometimes, but that’s who I am (who isn’t grumpy sometimes, after all?), and it’s not something that makes me a misanthrope.

Having read “Como fazer inimigos e irritar pessoas” triggered this idea of writing about misanthropic behavior in me. Keep in mind I was moved by this humorous tone the book, written by a Brazilian author, has. It’s a very interesting read, even if you, like me, are not a misanthrope.

So, today’s Easter Sunday, a day where many children go outdoors and dedicated some time to hunting Easter eggs. That’s a fun thing to do and it reminds me of something my parents used to make me and my sister do as children, and also of something my wife and me have made our children do, as well. Searching for hidden Easter eggs is a family tradition, after all.

Image by Joshua Choate on Pixabay

Something I’ve learned only much older though, with my Easter egg hunting days way behind, was that there was a meaning for Easter eggs in the world of videogames as well — and, to be honest, nowadays, in the world of movies and digital content as well.

An Easter egg is a hidden message or feature, so well hidden into a videogame, that it usually requires the player to perform a certain sequence or movements, commands or instructions to reveal it. If they do it, the message shows — and sometimes it can even be a mini game inside the main game.

Now, while going through my RSS feeds earlier today, I came across the story of Warren Robinett, a videogame designer working for Atari, his first job after graduating with a master’s degree in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Although the designing of a game nowadays is a complex work that needs the involvement of multiple professionals, back in the Atari days, the games were not that complex, meaning a single designer, like Robinett himself, could have an idea, write all the code on his own and create the needed graphics, music and sound effects. Like I got myself feeling when I decided to study Computer Science and program computers, videogame designers probably felt as book authors of movie directors, taking the plots and bending the stories of the games they created as they saw fit.

But the thing is, unlike the Stephen Kings and Christopher Nolans out there who have their names well printed on media, videogame designers were never properly credited by Atari for their creations. And of course, it made them perplexed.

So, in 1979, when Atari marketing department circulated a memo listing the top selling games of 1978 along with how much profit they brought home, meaning to inspire designers to make similar games, it backfired, and made designers notice Atari undervalued them. In the following years, many left the company and founded their own software companies, including Warren Robinett, who though the situation was like a was a David and Goliath duel.

Warren Robinett’s Easter egg in the game “Adventure” credited him as the game’s creator

Before leaving Atari to found The Learning Company and later move on to work in virtual reality for NASA and as a virtual reality researcher at the University of North Carolina, Robinett decided to insert his name into one of “Adventure” game’s many rooms.

He didn’t tell anyone he did it and nobody noticed or discovered his Easter egg while testing the game at Atari. So thousands of copies of the game were shipped into the world, with Atari oblivious that Robinett’s signature could be unlocked by any player. After finishing work in “Adventure”, Warren quit Atari. It was early in 1980.

According to his interview, “It was kind of a little fuck you to Atari management. They took away my royalty, but I tricked them into publicizing my name.” His “Adventure” game sold more than 1 million copies at ~$25 each — $0 of which went to Robinett.

So, as it’s possible to see, one of the first Easter eggs of videogame history was created as an act of rebellion. But Robinett’s egg wasn’t the first: Ron Milner, who worked at Atari from 1972 to 1985 and developed the arcade game “Starship 1” inserted his own Easter egg there, also as a desire to make the designers’ names show into the world. After a sequence of commands was performed, the players would see the message “Hi Ron”, awarding them 10 free games.

After Atari learned about Robinett’s Easter egg, the company decided to embrace his act of rebellion. A company manager named Steve Wright told the press Atari would be planting “little Easter eggs” in their future games. He coined the term, which is in use to this day. The rest is history.

Tetris has been gravitating around me all week now. With the Tetris movie released on Apple TV on March 29, all I’ve been wanting to do is to watch it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to grant myself this desire so far, due to a couple of setbacks. Luckily for me, I’ve been enjoying playing Tetris meanwhile: Techmino and Falling Lightblocks on my phone, and Tetris Effect: Connected, on Steam, have sucked away a nice amount of hours from my life. The latter has even made the Tetris theme, in a new rearranged, remixed version, stick to my mind like an earworm. Hopefully, I’ll watch the movie soon… -ish.

✱ I’ll be attending Web Summit Rio, from May 2nd to 4th, and that came as a complete, unexpected surprise! Web Summit Rio will be the first of its kind in Brazil, the largest tech event of the country, comparable to Web Summit Lisbon, Collision in Toronto and RISE in Hong Kong. The surprise aspect happened when, besides learning my employer will be taking part in it for the first time, I took part on a draw among my work mates and was awarded a ti jet to the event, the opportunity to be present there. I’ve always heard about this event and now my expectations are set and high.

✱ I’m back to WordPress after sometime away from the tool. I used to keep my site running on it, and started blogging with it right in its beginning, 2003. I wrote many posts and years later decided to backup everything and pull the plug on it. After a writing hiatus, I settled with many different tools at the same time. There’s Write.as, Bear Blog and omg.lol, this last one the newest addition to my blogging stack. All of them are excellent tools, but all of a sudden I missed WordPress and decided for a comeback. Expect my content to be concentrated here, from now on.

✱ Easter is on us again, and this means we’ve gone shopping for… chocolate 🍫. I don’t know if the custom of eating chocolate eggs is a global thing, but in Brazil Easter eggs are popular, yet not affordable as of the latest years. At home it’s already a practice to make up for the eggs with chocolate bars and assorted candy. And we’re all set for tomorrow here. Stocks filled to appeal to me, my wife and kids.

✱ This week work got me very busy. I had almost no time to do anything else; thus, my reading of “The Poppy Wars” has almost stopped — I guess I must have progressed a bare 5% or 6%, and my series episode watching actually stopped. On the one hand, this must have been the week I felt most tired ever in 2023. On the other hand, I feel I’m learning new things and making some progress, what feels very nice.

✱ Have you ever felt so tired, but so really tired that if you could, all you’d do would be to sleep all day long? Along with this week’s work I started to feel very much tired by the end of each day, specially last Thursday and yesterday, Friday. These were the days I needed to attend work in person — taking me out of my WFH routine. Now. One thing is to consider that having to ride to work and stay there, coming back home by the end of the day is the likely culprit for all this tiredness. I can’t actually rule it out, but I started to worry, because I’ve been feeling very sleepy — and kind of energy-less — as of lately. I’m considering setting an appointment to go see a doctor. I have some medical conditions under control, which I’m not going to list here for privacy purposes, but I guess any time feels good for a visit to the doctor for a checkup.

✱ Another side effect I felt this week was a raise in my pile of to read articles. Between my own savings from web and the newsletters I follow, there’s so much unread material that I’m seriously considering ditching it all — i.e., marking every piece as read and moving on. No FOMO here. For what I do get to read, I usually take notes, make highlights and comments. I’m considering starting to publish them in this blog soon enough.

✱ As my reading of A guerra da Papoula, the Brazilian Portuguese translation of The Poppy Wars, by author R. F. Kuang progresses to ⅓ of the book, this week started greeting me with very nice news from the team at Literal.club. I can’t remember exactly when I applied to be a volunteer librarian for the app, but this week my application was accepted! This means that now, according to the admins at Literal, I have librarian superpowers, like merging, creating and editing book information. This makes me particularly satisfied because it’s usually very hard to find Brazilian Portuguese book information on these book tracking apps, and as a librarian I can help reducing this gap. I’m still in need to learn exactly how to do it, but I’ll get there.

✱ It’s been sometime now that I’ve been considering the idea of creating some kind of linklog, a place to share interesting things I come across daily — and it would be very nice to use weblog.lol to do it, so much that I’ve created a feature request in Discourse for that. My idea is based on the idea of using (currently non-existing) tag templates that could be arranged to display in a list, and be paged as needed. I’ve written about it there, so let’s leave it where it is (hoping that Adam sees it and gets to implement it in a neat way as he always does).

Detail of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” LP cover

✱ This must be my Elvis-iest week ever. I like Elvis Presley songs and everything, although I’m not his biggest fan. But last Monday I listened to Suspicious Minds on the radio and listened later, again, and again, and again. The song became a real earworm. Then, last night, my son told us about this new Elvis (2022) movie he found on HBO and this afternoon we’ve watched it. The film focuses on the conflicting relationship Elvis had with his long time manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, who actually narrates the story. Suspicious Minds appears quite a lot during the movie, and besides being a hell of a song, it mixes pretty well with the plot. If you haven’t watched it yet and can do, do it.

Ellie and Joel meet the giraffe

✱ Anxious as I was to watch the ninth (and last) episode of HBO’s The Last of Us, I couldn’t manage to do it on Sunday. It was hard to keep waiting until last night, when I finally could see where the story led Ellie and Joel. There was even… a real giraffe making a cameo appearance! 😃 I’ve stated before that I’ve never played the two franchise videogames in my life, but I read that these 9 episodes were going to wrap up all the first game and its DLC. In the end, this last episode went following a path that I liked — and that, at the same time, displeased my son, who said he shouldn’t have wasted his time watching the series. Still, when I asked him what he’d have done differently, he muted. As any and many first seasons of series before it, it came to an end. Sometimes this end pleases, sometimes it doesn’t. I can’t (or don’t want to) comment specifics here so I don’t reveal spoilers, but let’s just say that the final episode of season one was just fair as I could expect it to be. And count me in for watching season 2 when it premiers.

A panel of a French Disney comic book I’m using to remember French

Je me souviens du français. Bien… a petit peut. I’ve been touching French again as of lately and I am remembering how fun it can be to explore a different language. I studied French for around a year and a half in the past, but of course, due to not using it on a regular basis, ended up forgetting a lot of it. As I’m studying French by my own and don’t want to pressure myself or anything, I decided to gather vocabulary through the lightest, easiest way that came to my mind: that is, by reading comics in French. It’s somewhat hard to find French comics to download, but after some scavenging, I found a couple of them, Uncle Scrooge — Oncle Picsou magazines, and they’re proving to be at the same time both challenging and lots of fun. Now I’m deciding whether to gather all my vocabulary into a flash card app to practice it through spaced repetition. Maybe I’ll do it. Let’s see. For now, it’s the fun part that’s keeping me moving. Now I’m deciding whether to gather all my vocabulary into a flash card app to practice it through spaced repetition. Maybe I’ll do it. Let’s see. For now, it’s the fun part that’s keeping me moving.

Card Survival: Tropical Island is a game I had my eyes on for quite some time now. I’m not being able to dedicate much time to gaming this year, but considering that Steam’s Autumn Sale is on until the next 23rd, 20% off its regular price was enough argument to make me decide to buy it. In fact, I got to play it this morning, and did it for almost 4 hours in a row. I like this deck building gente a lot, and although the game premise seems simple enough — you wake up on a deserted island only to find out you have to survive it till you escape it, or till you get enough resources and make it your new home —, it’s perfectly possible to notice how deep the gameplay is. Devs are active and by the time I purchased it last night, I noticed their introduction of the 41st wave of updates in game mechanics. OMG 😱 In general, I’m finding the experience of having to watch my hunger, thirst, sleepiness, health, stress and so many other leves I have to keep eyes on while scavenging, chopping wood, making fires up and a whole lot of other things very… enjoyable. It does get complicated as the days pass by, and I’m a lousy survival right know, not having passed through my fifth day surviving on the island. Yet, I wasn’t wrong buying the game, as I feel something will keep me pushing back to play 🏝️😃