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About Marco A.G.Pinto

Who I am:

My name is Marco A.G.Pinto. I am Portuguese, 44 years old, 1.69 meters, around 70 kg and I was born on 27.Jan.1974.
I am among several things a researcher, philosopher, writer, programmer, web designer, translator.

(photo taken on 4.Jul.2011 at age 37)

I finished my 12th grade in 1995 with the highest average in my class which was 15 values, and entered the same year in a private University in Lisbon. I finished my 4-year University pre-Bologna course in "Informática de Gestão" (Management Computer Science) in September 1999 with an average of 14 values. In September 2012 I finished a Military Masters in "Guerra da Informação/Competitive Intelligence" (Information Warfare/Competitive Intelligence) with an average of 16 values. Averages in Portugal are between 0 and 20 values.

At the end of my 2nd year in University I had a nervous breakdown, because of my family mainly who ruined my entire life from the beginning, which was the end of my dream — being the best of the best. I had to be carried to hospital by an ambulance and from that day on my life changed completely and, because of the psychiatric treatments, I spent most of my time sleeping and got a lot fatter and my marks went nose down and I lost interest in almost everything. This made me also a lot fatter, but currently I only weight around 70 kg compared to the 73 kg of the Summer of 1999. My relationship with my family also became stable and I am happy to have a family.

In the 1990s I only did a lot of crap. Due to the fact that I wanted to be the best of the best in my studies, I was a bad colleague and friend, hiding the information from the other students. Over 20 years have gone by, but there are still persons who even today don't talk with me.

In January 2001, after around one year unemployed, I got a part-time job at a supermarket as a cashier. The job isn't at the level of my education but at least I have free time for my hobbies. At work, I have to deal with all kind of people, from educated to savage beasts. And I see lots of bad things. I even see rich persons who have very expensive cars, like Mercedes and BMWs, who can spend €50 in shrimp and come up with a discount coupon of 10 cents for a very cheap product. There are also those who pretend to be friends and change the barcodes in products to steal the supermarket. I also see grocers attempting to buy all products (leading to stock rupture), when there are discounts, to sell the products at their stores at a much higher price, even going against the supermarket limiting the maximum number of products each customer can buy.

At the end of August 2001 I was accepted for a Masters in "Gestão de Sistemas de Informação" (Management of Information Systems) in one of the best management Universities in my country (I.S.C.T.E.). I was one of the around 30 persons accepted in my whole country. In 2002, I had to suspend my studies because I only had time to study and work and couldn’t enjoy life nor work on things I had planned a long-time ago. Also, my part-time job was affecting my studies as it consumed too much time (extra-hours) and caused a lot of psychological stress. I got into a big depression. I even got a medical leave because of the depression.

I decided then to stop my studies for at least one year and invest the loan I got from the bank to pay my Masters in things more profitable such as opening my own company. I could invest all the money in University and end my course without a cent or I could invest it in a business and end rich and get rid of stupid jobs and start working for myself. I did start a company but, due to lack of money, I had to dissolve it in the Winter of 2003. What was sad was that I invested lots of cash and lost it all but it was one more experience to add to my life.

In December 2005 I paid the entire Masters loan (what was left of it) so that I could join more money every month. There was still a reasonable amount to pay but I decided it was better that way. Now I no longer have debts and can take a more free life. Maybe I should invest a bit in my family and friends now.

One day at work in 2007 there were discounts if paying with the supermarket card starting at 7pm… A family went to my checkout and said something like: "Is it already 7pm?" and when I replied "yes", the old man got angry and shouted something like: "Then hurry up because we want to catch the bus". In such a day, all customers would stop in front of the checkouts looking at their watches waiting for the discount time. This really annoys me. I am also tired of customers wanting everything for free. The good thing is that this job is part-time which means I have free time for my hobbies which makes me go on like this.

In April 2008 I got into a new stage of my life. I finally realised that having a regular life in this planet was silly and useless leading nowhere. In a regular full-time job I would probably work 12 hours a day and earn around 700 and a house rent costs around 500, plus €100+ for food and 50+ for transportation. This means it is useless to work in full-time. My only escape would be to win the National Lotto or the EuroMillions and retire. Only this way my life would have a reverse. The hard facts of life is that my father was Director in a bank before he retired, and he is poor which means that working hard is useless. If dad was a Director and is poor, how can I in a regular job become rich? I guess "work is a necessary evil".

On 8.May.2008 I started taking Centrum vitamins to attempt to get back into shape. Hopefully within a month or two I would start feeling and looking better.

(Marco depressed on 8.May.2008)

At the end of May 2008 I got a medical leave. I was feeling exhausted and my nervous system was all affected. I was working too much at the supermarket doing lots of extra-hours, most of the time without even going to the toilet nor have a small break. I have also done 7 hours in a row without going to the toilet. I couldn't take it any longer and strange thoughts were crossing my mind. I asked my superiors for one or two extra days off so that I could rest, but they replied with a "no". I even attempted to buy the days off and the answer was: "They are not for sale". I was always doing my maximum at work but no one ever valued my hard work. If I asked for extra days off is because I was really in need. I couldn't take it any more and the only solution was to increase my medication and a medical leave. The only reason why I didn't take my life was because it is risky to exchange the known by the unknown.

In July 2008 I got a new insight. A couple at work told me about a Masters in a military institution. At first, I didn't seem interested, but I looked for more information about it and started feeling a new life inside. I decided that in 2009 (planned one year ahead) I would apply for the Masters. This would give me one year to prepare myself and, if I am accepted and have good marks, maybe the government will invite me for a job. This could change my life for the better if everything goes out well.

In July 2009, one year later, I applied for the Military Masters and, after a lot of anxiety, I was accepted in August. Classes began in October. Finally, I had the chance of doing something to improve my life. I have now found a third family. Maybe two years from now I will be at a higher position in the headquarters of the supermarket or in another job more related to my academic background. The name of the course is "Guerra da Informação/Competitive Intelligence" (Information Warfare/Competitive Intelligence).

This military course which is also open to civilians isn't about guns nor killing people. It is more like staying in front of a computer which I already do in my free time. It is a course about applying the military concepts to enterprise and information management and decision-making.

On 9.Nov.2009 a supermarket customer named André told me an old saying: "Study a lot to know little. If you study little you won't know anything".

Marco studying on 25.Nov.2009

At classes, I learned an important military piece of information which I am sharing with you, the "Level of Threats" aka "Threat Spectrum":

The same friend, André, told me at the supermarket on 28.Dec.2009: "Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day".

In February 2011 I made a Lotto society with dad to attempt to win the National Lotto. I called it "The Pintos' society". This way it is cheaper to gamble and if someday we win the first prize we will share it
the same way as if I was gambling alone.

In March 2011, after 10 years working at the supermarket, more and more I realised how bad people really are. At the supermarket I had to deal with lots of crap and met some of the most disgusting and rude persons ever. I have seen people trying to take advantage of others pretending they didn't know things or that they wanted to help. There are people who will never be able to use cards correctly always making manual payments which take a lot of time and make the other persons in line angry at the cashier and not at the real responsible for the situation. What a lack of consciousness of people who cause the problems and the consequences are addressed at the honest worker. I am also tired of old people always in a rush to catch the bus but who can spend 10 minutes looking at the receipt to check if they were "cheated".

In March 2011 the Santa Casa changed the way of working of the National Lotto which made my Lotto software useless and a lot harder to win the first prize. But, in April, I was able to improve my Lotto software to make it work with the new National Lotto. Although I didn't have enough draws for statistics and the price of the bets had risen, I decided to give it a try. To win the first prize is hard because of the "lucky number" but the second prize is tasty as well.

In June 2011 I was feeling very down and one night I told my feelings to my friend Dr. Cake on Windows Live Messenger (14.Jun.2011) and he replied saying he was going to tell me a profound thing: "We are never satisfied with the life we have… no matter whether we are rich or poor… life is a challenge".

In the end of October 2012 I caught some cold and got a sore throat followed by a respiratory infection. I couldn't breathe and went to hospital on 30.Oct.2012 and got a medical leave for two weeks. The night before going to hospital I could only sleep two or three hours because, every time I laid down on bed, it would become even harder to breathe. At the hospital they did several medical exams, including blood test and x-rays and a strange machine with a device connected to my finger which at first was giving lots of strange values going up and down.

(photos dated from 30.Oct.2012)

In the Christmas of 2012, Professor Carvalho Rodrigues offered me two gifts, a t-shirt and a book. The idea of the t-shirt was of a genius, since it had written "Cyberwarrior" and had underneath the Information Metric used on my Masters thesis:

(photo dated from 25.Dec.2012)

On 1.Sep.2013 I officially changed my timetable at work, from 25/hours week to 16/hours week, just working on the weekends. I thought this would be a good way of getting some extra time for studying and for my hobbies. The difference in income isn't that much, since on Sundays the supermarket pays double and, in my previous timetable, I wouldn't work on Sundays. Now I would only have to "suffer" two days and then have five free days for everything else.

On 1.Oct.2013 I got a second job at Corporate Education (IPAM/IADE) as a Moodle platform Administrator. I was invited by Director FC who said I would only have to go to the university physically once or twice a week, doing the rest of the work from home. I already had some experience in Moodle as a student in my Masters and now I would only have to see things from the inside part. I adapted myself very quickly to this task and spent several hours a day inserting courses/teachers/students and giving them credential and associating them to the courses.

On 14.Jan.2014 I received the results from the PhD scholarship I had applied for in 2013 from FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) and the e-mail said that my project wasn't considered a priority. I received the news days later that 92% of the candidates didn't get a scholarship due to budget restrictions. I guess I will apply again for 2015. The good thing about this is that I will have an extra year to develop my project and thesis.

In the end of April 2014 I contacted the Instituto Superior Técnico university asking for Information about how to make a research PhD without going to classes and just defend my thesis. I was told that I could pay two years of school fees and propose myself to exam. After some days meditating about it, I decided that I wouldn't apply again for a scholarship, because it is almost impossible to get it. What I would do is, after having my thesis project ready within a year or so, I would get a loan from the bank and pay the €6'000 to propose myself to exam.

On 30.Nov.2015 I stopped working for the university as an international group both the universities and, in the new university of the group (Europeia), there was already someone taking care of the e-Learning platform which was no longer Moodle but BlackBoard. But these two years I worked for the university were good for my CV.

On 26.Mar.2017 I had an accident at work after slipping in a cloth hanger and trying to hang to the POS, falling all twisted. As a result I dislocated my left shoulder and was on a medical leave for around three months. The doctor wanted to make surgery to the shoulder but I asked for a second opinion and two other doctors said it was unnecessary. This injury represented the end of my dream of one day returning to karate.

The doctor would end my leave on 17.Jul.2017, even though the physiotherapist reports said I had limitations and that it would require more treatment. Now I would pay the sessions myself.

                           (photo dated from 5.Apr.2017) Magnetic resonance — 20.Apr.2017 (click on image to enlarge)

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