What better way to get a taste of Norwegian style Christmas than with pepperkaker? Pepperkaker are ginger biscuits and are a tradition in Norway at this time of the year. I got really curious with this recipe and I found a delicious one at this blog (a special thanks to L-Jay and Moose for giving us a taste of Norwegian life-style). The result was absolutely delicious. Pepperkaker with a nice cup of hot tea are the best for a cold winter night. I really enjoyed this recipe. Glad Jul! (Merry Christmas!)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Boss: Thanks to our new contract with company A, we are going to save much more money.
Me: That’s great. Aren’t we going to ask company B for new prices to check if we can save even more?
Me: Why not?
Boss: Because that would make us lose our credibility.
Today at work:
Boss: I asked company B for new prices, and now we are going to save even more.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I traveled to Porto, to go and speak with Eli S., adviser of the EURES network in Norway. I went to Porto by bus, departing at 9:00 a.m. (from Lisbon) and arrived three and a half hours later. I have heard of the hospitality of the people from Porto and today I got the chance to experience it myself. As soon as i left the bus station, I started asking directions to the place where i would find Eli, and not only I got the help I wanted from a nice man working at a traditional grocery shop, as he also offered me a lift to the place if I had the patience of waiting an extra hour and a half. As I was in a hurry, I thanked him and got on my way to meet Eli. I spoke to her about the Norwegian job market, and she explained to me how to write my CV and what Norwegian companies I should contact during my job search. After I left the place, I had three hours left until the trip back to Lisbon, so I decided to take a walk and explore Porto.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
"Pão por Deus,
Fiel de Deus,
Bolinho no saco,
Andai com Deus."
“Bread by God,
Faithful of God,
Cookie in the bag,
Go with God.”
As I and his girlfriend were the only people to show up, we decided to have a nice chat together with a hot cup of coffee. We ended up taking a walk in the streets of Lisbon, watching the night lights. The city lights in Lisbon are a truly spectacular sight. Also, the city has acquired the nice habit of putting Christmas lights in streets of down town Lisbon. At this time the lights are still being assembled, but each year offers a different light show, providing the Christmas spirit that the city deserves.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
There are however some peculiar behaviors of Portuguese passengers:
- You will often see people laughing while running to catch the metro as the doors close down. Even if they are caught between closing doors, they will laugh about it.
- An increasing number of Portuguese metro passengers live under the assumption that if they block the carriage doors and prevent other people from coming out, they will be able to enter the train. This is also the cause of what I like to call “The bulldozer effect”, which is the same as to say that some passengers get out of carriage without any regard for other people in front of them, and open their way by crashing into them.
- No matter how full a carriage may get, there are a few select people that strongly believe they can get in anyway.
- There are always people begging for money. Some of them i have watched collecting money for seven years, and it is practically their way of life now.
Portuguese people are rather open to other people, so if you are a tourist and need help on the metro, look for a young person (a low percentage of elderly people speak English, but you are welcome to try) and it is very likely that he/she will help a friendly tourist.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
There's a government agency here called "ASAE" which is suposed to be responsible for the economic and food safety. Today they shut down a mess room that served meals to the homeless because they found some dead cocroaches on the kitchen's floor. Way to go Portugal!
Moreover.. a little bird told me that the person who is directing this agency usually has luch in a luxury restaurant somewhere in Lisbon.. some sense of perspective hey?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Another interesting thing was to see that there is a parking lot in Spain which is using a vertical garden on the extraction ventilation of a parking lot to absorb part of the pollution (something like this). The plants absorb CO2 and the bacteria absorb some of the chemicals on the fumes.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I guess what applies to weapons manufacturers, also applies for pharmaceutical companies:
If people don't die, they can't sell bullets.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Here's how they do it...
DROWNING IN PAPERWORK. Paper has power. It can make things move forward or grind them to a halt. Usually, the more of it there is, the longer the delay. Any boss worth his/her salt knows the best way to get an employee off their back is to ask them to produce more paper. It could be a memo that gets rewritten to death or a request to provide backing documentation for every move you wish to make. This busy work will keep you at bay, spinning your wheels for days...weeks...months...
WARNING SIGNS. Your desk is filled with folders and binders. Yet, when it's time for your annual review, you realize you've accomplished nothing.
UNAPPROACHABLE. Looking busy at work is an art form. If your boss wants to get you off his/her back he'll make himself scarce. And when you do see him, he'll be harried as hell. You'll begin to doubt yourself and worry that you will be bothering him with your needs. He clearly has bigger fish to fry, right? In lieu of being the "busy" boss, your fearless leader might take the "dick" approach. This is where he makes you feel stupid and/or small when you ask him something.
WARNING SIGNS. You make excuses to avoid asking your boss anything."
Read the rest here.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
- Codfish (up to 500g) without any scales or bones;
- 2 onions;
- Olive oil;
- Garlic (optional);
- 4 eggs;
- Straw potatoes;
- Olives (optional).
Start by mixing the olive oil in a pan with the onions and garlic. Separately boil the codfish and cut it in very thin slices, usually this can be done very easily with a fork. Join the codfish and the olive oil and onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Add the straw potatoes to the pan and mix everything. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the mixture of codfish and potatoes. Mix everything to soften the potatoes. Turn off the stove and leave the pan covered for about 5 minutes.
Also, you can use some olives and a good salad to eat with this dish.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I worked for five years in a company X where i was responsible for providing the product to customers while working in a team of 10 elements. The day of the opening was memorable. On the inauguration day, there were still people in the building welding and laying cement on the floor. Work done at the last minute is typically portuguese.
Over time, some elements of my team were fired or left the job by their own initiative. Unfortunatly the management skills of our boss were inexistent. Sometimes, he took money from the safe just because he felt like buying horses, others he did not felt like paying the suppliers, etc. The case went to the courts and the company was sold. Fortunately, many of us were hired by the new company, which was logical because experience is something to which is given much value. I remember that everyone was full of dreams and hopes, thinking that under new management things would improve, I was one of those people.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. I saw everything: from managers smoking in the corridors during work hour; to the director, whom really liked chatting with his friends on MSN Messenger instead of actually managing the place.
But the most memorable thing of all was our new team leader. This “man creature” presented himself to the team as an experienced and highly professional person, who had several years of experience in other companies. He really seemed like a nice person, an impression that lasted for half an hour. Here is a list of his wonderful and “productive” deeds:
- On the first day, he fired me and my colleagues a few dozen times;
- Changed the location of the raw materials, putting them 20m farther away from the workplace just because it looked more beautiful to his eyes (despite the work now taking twice as long to complete because of the extra trips that had to be done);
- 80% of his work hours were spent in front of the computer surfing the Internet and watching videos on youtube;
- Arrived on the workplace usually 2 hours late and also got out earlier;
- Took the day off whenever his car needed to replace a tire on his car (although he lived 20 minutes away from the company);
- We discovered that he had been expelled from other companies where he used to work, and that in one of them, there was a party (with cake) when he left;
- Despite having no training in mechanics or engineering, he disassemble parts from the machines on the pretext that they were not necessary. This action increased the rate of malfunctions on the equipment;
- He accused me of being late to work in front of the director,although I am known to always arrive 10 minutes earlier to avoid any unexpected delays;
- And the list goes on ...
It is clear that his actions could not go unpunished, and so i spoke to the director and confronted him with the situation. As he refused to resolve it, I decided that there was no future in that place and resigned the job. I came to discover later on that the director and the “man creature” were friends. As such, and despite all this incompetence, they continue to "work" in the company.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
- Some countries do not use drinking water in toilets.
- Yes, there are third world countries that already have implemented that system;
- Portugal does not have it;
- But Portugal is a country of the fourth world.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
In Portugal, former presidents have the right to:
- An office, a secretary, a phone and an assistant;
- Private security 24h per day.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
It spoke of several ongoing researches and studies and how many of them are concentrated in the appearance of some structures in the brain called “Amyloid plaques”. However, the investigation of a doctor in particular caught my attention. Instead of coloring the tissues of the brain with common tye solutions in this type of analysis, he used another colorant that revealed the emergence of cells that are associated with the onset of an inflammation. Then he thought, is Alzheimer's disease not more than an inflammation? So he decided to contact some reimatologistas in search of records of patients with rheumatism and other problems associated with inflammations. He queried whether there was a correlation between arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Surprisingly he could not find a record of a patient with arthritis who had developed Alzheimer's. Then he asked himself: would the anti-inflammatory drugs that patients take exert an influence on the disease? Unfortunately he has found difficulties in finding those who want to fund his research. He thinks that nobody is interested because anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, are cheap drugs and do not bring big profits for pharmaceuticals companies.
Friday, June 26, 2009
A neighbor of mine recently told me she had already been to Norway and told me of a curious episode that happened to her. She told me she saw a bracelet in the street and asked why no one took it. They said that the person that had lost the bracelet would eventually return to the same site and find it there. Having heard this, i almost bet that this kind of attitude does not happen in Portugal very often. I think that a person in the same situation here would even be mocked by other friends if he/she would tell them they left the bracelet alone. It is almost like the birth of a culture of “every man for himself”. This may seem exaggerated, and not all people have this kind of behavior, but those who do, no matter how few, sometimes exercise a great negative influence on society.
I had a bizarre episode where in a dinner with friends I discussed with one of them the advantages of changing the Portuguese society into a more truthful one, and how we could achieve this goal by providing future generations with good examples. In this conversation, I was surprised by my friend’s answer when he tells me I should not think this way, and that to be a successful person I would have to use deception on others before others would use it on me.
Unlike this kind of attitude, I hear that in Norway the situation is exactly the opposite. People, despite their cold temperament, are more human to each other than people from other countries said "civilized". My Norwegian teacher used to tell me that people from her home town are so good and kind to each other it almost makes her cry. It must be a pleasure to live amongst such noble people.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The "Santos" (literally means "Saints") are religious and very popular festivals that occur in Lisbon during the month of June. It's all about, sardines, alcohol and most important thing of all, spending a good time with your friends. The highlight of the festival is to walk at night in the historic districts of Lisbon with your friends and eat a grilled sardine with bread.
Clearly, as we are in Portugal, something that can not miss is an extreme lack of hygiene, people throw garbage on the floor and urinate on the walls. Anyway, it's a time well spent, specially if you're on vacation here in Portugal.
Friday, June 19, 2009
- 120g of chocolate powder;
- 4 eggs;
- 2 tea cups of flour;
- 2 tea-cups of sugar (brown sugar is better);
- 1/2 tea-cup of olive oil;
- 1 dessert spoon of baking soda;
- 1 tea-cup to warm milk;
- 1 package of cream (100 mL);
- 150 to 200 grams of dark chocolate.
Mix while adding the ingredients by the following order: first the chocolate powder, then the sugar, baking soda, the flour, beaten eggs, milk and olive oil. The mixture seems too liquid, but no problem, just put it in the oven and heat up to 180 degrees Celsius. Leave it there for 50 minutes tops.
Now it is time to prepare the covering of the cake. Heat the cream on a stove until it starts to boil. Immediately add the chocolate broken into small pieces. Blend the hot cream and chocolate until the chocolate melts, and cover the cake with it (obviously, wait until the cake is ready). For the perfect flavor, the cake has to be placed in the refrigerator and eaten cold.
Sometimes I add an extra layer in the middle of the cake, adding either nuts or almonds. In the photo I also invented a cream of white chocolate (using the same technique as previously done with dark chocolate).
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
This movie is great. I liked it a lot. As the name suggests, it's about our home, earth. It puts things into perspective and it may help change some minds and behaviors that may endanger the future of our children.
Here is the link for the full movie on youtube:
You can check out the trailer here:
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
- 200mL of cream;
- 1 yogurt;
- lemon juice;
- salt (optional);
- 2 salmon flitches;
- Olive Oil;
- Green beans;
- 2 carrots;
- Olive oil;
- Koji sauce.
Season the salmon with salt and lemon. Put the salmon in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and cover it with milk. Leave it in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. While the salmon is in the oven you can prepare the sauce and the garnish. For the sauce, simply mix the yogurt with a 200mL package of cream. When the salmon is almost done, take it out of the oven, cover it with the yogurt and cream sauce and put it in the oven again for an extra 5 to 10 minutes. As for the garnish, grab a fry pan and mix in a little bit of olive oil with green beans and a carrot, both sliced into tiny pieces. For an extra touch you can add a little Koji Japanese sauce.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I have personally seen one of these protests, the first one, with about 120 000 teachers protesting in the streets of Lisbon. It was the greatest exercise of democracy I have ever seen. Unfortunately the minister continues to refuse accepting the teachers point of view.
Statistics from protests held in Portugal are also another curious matter for the current Portuguese government. it seems that the “official” number of protesters is given by the real number of protesters divided by two. Also, if too many people come to protest, police squads are sent to the city perimeter to prevent more people of entering the city to protest. No doubt, this government has a distorted sense of democracy.
Now, who is this minister? Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues, also known as “LULU”, has been a perfect example of how you should govern if you are living in a dictatorship. I remember that when she visited a school, students threw some eggs at her car, and a few weeks later she sent some men to interrogate the students (!).
This video shows her in one of these school visits. You can see that some students are protesting and she answers back in a very immature tone:
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Recently a new shopping mall opened in Amadora, near Lisbon. If you don't know already, a good percentage of portuguese people love shopping malls. Going to a shopping mall on a Sunday it's almost a national sport. Anyway, this shopping mall is supposed to be the biggest shopping mall in Portugal, with the most advanced security systems and a "super police station". Unfortunately, Amadora is a problematic city due to the high crime rate. Apparently, a few days ago a large group of teenagers and young men decided to go "shopping" in the first opening days. They "shopped" for a wide screen plasma TV, brand clothes and also a cash register machine (probably someone who was thinking of starting their own business). They were stopped by no one. As usual, the police squad arrived late on the scene of the crime.
It is curious that a society allows these acts to go unpunished. So many people, poor or not, work honestly their way into life and others refuse to take an honest job and prefer stealing instead of working. These same people are financed by the government with large amounts of money, and are even given houses to live in, for free. Others have to spend at least 40 years working to pay the house loan to the bank.
Giving free housing to poor people is a noble act, but so it is the one of providing proper education and a sense of citizenship. Perhaps in this way more people living in some regions of Amadora could learn to prioritize their need for a plasma TV.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here it goes, my first post.
As you might have guessed, i'm planning to go to Norway, i am just trying to work my way into getting enough money for my personal adventure.
Why Norway? Well, i think it is a great country to live in, the closest thing to a civilized and democratic country that exists. So, in the next months i will try to post some of my experiences in Portugal and talk about my expectations about Norway.
Ha det bra! (Have it well!)