It was only when I got to college that I realised I needed glasses. We had classes in huge auditoriums and I enjoyed sitting in the back rows with the other cool kids. It was also the best spot for getting a quick shut eye without getting noticed. I started noticing that I was the only one having a hard time figuring out what the professor was writting on the chalkboard. I dreaded the idea of wearing glasses but eventually caved in and went to eye doctor.

In the first two years I only wore glasses in class but as time went by and the hours in front of the screen almost equalled the time I was awake my eyesight starting getting worse and I eventually needed aid to look at screen too.

When I began taking driving lessons the glasses would be in my face, specially at nightime, but the second I got out of the car the glasses would be put away.

My eyesight kept getting worse and by graduation I wore glasses the whole time.

I always hated wearing glasses, they got dirty, broke, in the summer I had to change between shaded and regular lenses. It was a pain. I never got used to them.

One time I tried contact lenses, my sister had been wearing them for a few years and was quite happy, so it sounded like a good idea. I had to go trough a tryout period to find out what type of lenses were more comfortable. The result was none. I remember one day I was having dinner with some friends and the lenses had been on my eyes for almost the whole day. Even with eye drops I felt like I wanted to pull the eyes out of my sockets. It wasn’t painful but rather uncomfortable. No matter how I tried I just couldn’t go over the fact that something was stuck on my eyes and I could feel it! It wasn’t for me so I just gave up.

Fast forward a few years: a friend at work showed up not wearing glasses. That’s not a thing that goes unnoticed. So he and his wife had both gotten laser eye surgery. It sounded scary but pretty straight forward so I decided to look into it. If you’re thinking about doing it don’t look for videos on youtube! Seriously, it doesn’t help! Some people think it’s crazy to put yourself through a procedure like that, but science has advanced a lot. Not only it is completely safe as it is quite effective.

So after some pretty thorough examinations I always eligible to do the surgery. The procedure (LASIK) consists in three steps: flap creation, laser remodelling and flap repositioning. Without going into a lot of details I’ll just say that the first step is the hardest one. Having a laser shot into your eyes is a piece of cake, the rest… not so much. None of the steps involve pain, but you need to be very calm. It’s not for everyone… having people messing with your eyes is pretty nerve racking. I wish I had taken double the calming pills I was advised to. But it went fine and according to plan. People where coming in and out at a pretty fast rate which means the doctors had a well oiled machine in the procedure.

The day following the procedure was pretty bad. I knew it took a few days for my eyesight to become normal, but my left eye seemed to be much worse that my right from which I could see pretty well. On the same day I had my post-op consultation. I turns out I was placed a contact lens to keep the flap steady. Once the doctor removed it my left eye was clear. Phew… everything was fine.

The following days are where not so good either, it didn’t hurt per se, but my eyesight was very blurry, bright lights produced halos and I was supposed to apply eyedrops at very small time intervals. I think the drops caused some migraines during the first week or so. The doctor told me I could go to work after one day of rest, but I advise anyone who goes through to the same procedure to stay at home at least two days. Looking at LCD screens is particularly difficult in the first weeks.

During the first week I couldn’t touch or get my eyes wet which was a bit challenging. Also on the first month I had to apply eyedrops at regular intervals (every hour in my case, but I’ve seen other people doing it for less time) and had to wear sunglasses outside. It didn’t matter the time, it was to protect any kind of debris from entering the eyes as you are absolutely forbidden to rub them. So I thought I looked like a douche.. and stayed home most of that time.

After a few days my vision started going back to normal. Normal as in no blurryness, but it was a new sharp world! It took some time for the light halos to go away, some people say some say about 6 months, I’m not really sure how long it took for me, but driving at night was a little weird at the beginning.

So now two years later after I did it I look back and would definitely do it again without thinking too much about it. I’ve had my eyes checked one year after the surgery and they where fine. This year I expect the same results.
Financially it’s not cheap but if you renew lenses every two years or so you’re probably spending more money anyway. If you have insurance that covers the expenses just go for it!

I don’t even remember wearing glasses anymore, if it wasn’t for the casual blast from the past from photos and such. I’ve enjoyed this “freedom” for the last two years and I’m glad I did it.

Damn you internets!

You start writing a blog post and then you think “This has potential to do some harm if the wrong people read this”, and then you think “Damn you internet for spreading my thoughts all over the place!”, and then you think some more “Wait, thats the actual porpose of the internet! And maybe you shouldn’t be writing for anyone to read”…. So the post went down the WordPress drain.

(photo by piitaaraq)

Spain 2009

I’m back from a little trip around Spain. I went to see some Spanish cities that I’d never been to like Barcelona and Valencia. The weather was hot and sunny, the food (almost always) good, so where the drinks, the sightseeing, the beach, the pools and of course, the shopping.

Now it’s time to focus on getting back to work, I’m feeling somewhat refreshed, I hope I don’t get post-holiday depression!

Moving – part I

I’m starting to prepare to move to a new place, and by preparing I mean getting rid of stuff I’ve gathered all my life: old CDs and cassettes, inumerous gadgets like my first walkman (still works!), the discman from my first college years (that doesn’t play beyond the third track), old headphones, gamepads. And paper, I keep lots of paper: magazines, device instructions, ticket stubs, flyers, post cards, boarding passes…

It’s all crap, useless and worthless, but every piece of it means something to me: people, places, events… and I’m having a very hard time sorting it out. I will not have room for all of it, but at the same time I can’t throw it out, it’s too emotional and I know if I do I will feel an enormous loss.

This is process is far from peaceful… and I just started!

More tips on freelancing after 9 to 5 and not go crazy

Michael Martine from Freelance Folder wrote a great article on Balancing Freelancing With A Full-Time Job Without Burning Out. I have some extra advice of my own:

Take Notes

Of course you’re going to come up with ideas for your freelance gigs during your 9 to 5 job, you can’t stop your brain from thinking, but don’t expect to remember everything you thought about during your working hours by the end of the day, so just take notes of everything and review it when you can.
This is pretty basic advice but just make checklists for everything, come up with some kind of system, either being a web service or a piece of software, just write everything down somewhere, your brain is the worst place to store information.

Check email first thing in the morning

I recently started to this, get up 10 minutes earlier and check your email before you leave the house, this way you’ll answer yours clients more frequently and he/she won’t think you’re a night owl (even though you very possibly are!).
If you commute consider getting a mobile device that has email capabilities so that you can minimize the wasted time.

Don’t overwork and save some time for yourself

Realize that you can’t work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day, you’re not superman (or girl), plan your projects wisely and leave some free time for yourself.
I tend to work more on weekends than during the week, this is when I do tasks that are more creative, during the week I do more “maintenance” tasks that don’t demand too much.
Another rule of mine during the week is not to exceed a certain number of hours of consecutive work, unless you’re on a creative streak, set a time limit to go to bed, most certainly the task you’re completing can wait until the next evening, You’ll be thankful the next day after having a decent number of hours of sleep, rather than walking around in zombie mode all day and not being able to continue working on your gig because you’re just too exhausted.

I try to follow these rules as much as I can, but of course there are ectic periods when I just feel overworked, but once the project is over I just take a break from freelancing for a while until I feel like there’s space for it in my life again.

Graphics: JB Insomnia Collection

Second Skin

Veronica Belmot from Mahalo Daily interviews the makers of Second Skin, a documentary about people that play online games premiered at the SxSw conference.
No one really cares any more about “online living” or at least it’s no longer a relevant discussion but I am really interested in seeing how this kind of behaviour affects peoples “real life”. I know some people that played and continue playing things like Second Life and World of Warcraft and for a period of time I watched their lives change, but I’m interested in seeing what happens you your second life overpasses your first life.

Home Alone

It’s has been a while since I spent a whole Saturday all by myself. I had planned to go to the gym in the morning but overslept and to be honest, I’m still sore from my last session. I had also planned to finish a freelance gig but that didn’t work out also, maybe tomorrow. It’s now 7:30 in the afternoon and I can’t remember what I have been doing all afternoon, talk about a productive day! But being honest, I rarely have moments like these, so I’ll excuse myself and try to manage to spent the rest of the day absolutely nothing! I Now where is that Saw dvd… 😛

Southeast Asia trip III: Bangkok


It takes about an hour to get to Bangkok from the airport, so far, all the cities in this trip have airports that are far from the city, at least 30 minutes, still people in Portugal complain about having an airport on the other side of the river.
Coming from Malaysia and Singapore, Bangkok is a bit of a chock, all the tidiness and organization is behind, caos is in charge now. It took us forever to reach the hotel because of the inner city traffic, it’s chaotic, and because of that we avoided cabs. The inner streets of Bangkok are kind of scary, but once you get used to it you find out they are totally safe.
I don’t want to get to long on this post so I’ll just point out the highlights: the Palaces with all the Buddha’s and the gold, just that is enough to visit Bangkok; the hookers, that are everywhere at anytime, going out can be a little annoying because of this; our super cheap 5 star hotel with the pool and spa on the rooftop that was a life saviors in the hours of extreme heat; the floating market, though it’s super touristy, was worth checking out, the whole trip was a lot of fun due to our rather intriguing tour guide Ricky(!); the super spicy food that was spicy even when you request not spicy; and of course, the shopping malls, I know I should have taken a larger bag!

Check out my photos at my Flickr[1] [2].