thingsThisWeek #38

A yellow building, with the word “Príncipe” written on it, and four girls walking towards us. One is a toddler, the others grownup

  • 💰 Money on the island is still a messy thing. There are no ATM to get it, and some people have not been warned about that fact. That should be easy to fix, as most other countries on earth have done so, but somehow it’s not the case here. A real issue when a country is so poor, and so dependent on foreign money.

  • 🏖️ I had a perfect beach day with tinyMovieStar, and a couple of friends. Sunday, movieStar at work, we spent the whole day on the cool Banana Beach, swimming, building sand castles, swimming, having lunch, swimming, having a beer, swimming. It was one of the best moments of the trip.

  • ⏸️ The feeling of life being in Pause while, at the same time, in overdrive. That is something I can only get here. I don’t worry about anything back home, nothing bothers me. And we’re always experiencing life as I feel it should always be: basic, happy, in love. I feel privileged a lot of times, but that feeling is much stronger here. Days seem to go on forever, but filled with excitement, not boredom.

  • 🎉 tinyMovieStar’s first real birthday party (attending one), with lots of kids, happened here. She had chocolate cake (and hates chocolate), she had her first lollipop (and she always refused to try those), and she had tons of sugary juice. The result was not great.

  • 👨🏻‍🏫 Workshop time! A lot less people than expected. As it often happens here, lack of communication was the main culprit. Even so, I believe I got some information across, in the limited time we had. People can’t get away from work with the guests, even if they really wanted. Sad, but somewhat unavoidable.

  • 🏊‍♀️ Before the workshop we had time for out final swim at Margarida Beach. It’s a very small, cosy, beach, next to one of the hotels. We spent a couple of hours having fun at the deserted beach, then walked back to the hotel, had lunch, and João drove me up to Roça, the venue for the workshop. No more beach for us.

  • 🥘 Later in the day we visited Romar for our farewell dinner. We took a few friends along, and fish was grilled. Since Armazém, the place where most people have their meals these days, was closed, the restaurant was packed. So much so that latecomers were greeted with a “Sorry, no more food”. In a way it felt like the old Príncipe, where you really had to plan ahead.

  • ✈️ Morning came, coffee was drank, and Filipa picked us up for the short drive to the airport. Fitting, since she was the one doing the transfer a couple of weeks ago, and also one of the people we always miss the most. We went through the airport formalities, and managed to check in with a couple of friends who were also flying to the big island. That helped with the luggage weight, since they’re only spending a couple of days before going back and had small bags. We didn’t get charged for our heavy bags this way. The tiny plane is not a great experience for some, and one of our friends felt sick for a few hours. movieStar made it mostly ok, the little one suffered a lot with the crazy heat inside.

  • 🌴 Back at Omali, back at the pool, and back at the comfort of the hotel life. Great food, dinner with the friends that came with us, and a late night. The chocolate mousse is still the greatest in the world, and I might have eaten a bit too much. In fact, I always do, as I never know when I’ll be back.

  • 🚗 On our last day in São Tomé we got a car and went south. Jonathan hadn’t seen this island yet, and we didn’t get the chance for a late checkout anyway, as the hotel is full. So, instead of spending the whole day lounging in the pool, we went for a drive. Rain and thunderstorms setting the mood, we went looking for Pico Cão Grande, the most recognizable landmark in the country. Road is ok up to a point, then turns into an adventure. It took us over two hours to get there (60km!), and the cloud cover didn’t make it possible in the end. We drove back, and spent the rest of the day at the pool bar, waiting for our time to go. We got a takeaway pizza, it helped a lot during the long wait at the airport.

  • ⌛️ Our time was up. We boarded our plane, ready for our flight back to Portugal. The girls got their upgrade, I did not. There were two available seats, not three. We had a marvelous time, and tinyMovieStar loved her time there. That was the whole point. She grew up quite a bit, got used to the rougher situations, the lack of her usual food, the amount of new people, overcame her shyness. and had to spend whole days away from movieStar, with me as her only company. She did awesome, and we’re very proud of her. I’m sure we’ll be back.

thingsThisWeek #37/3

Fishermen ride a boat, forest in the background.

  • 😊 We found Henry, at last! He’s the one of the few that we haven’t met yet, the man spends his days at his workshop and comes out at night only. Working on his plastic recycling experiences, outside the city. Last night, while walking in a dark street, on our way to an omelette dinner, I mentioned to movieStar that he was still missing. Not a second later we heard a call, “Mr Miguel!”! Henry. How in heaven’s name did he know it was me? The way I walk! While I think it’s a pretty normal way (one feet in front of the other one, and repeat), he knew it was me, even though he couldn’t make out my face, or anything else. It’s just too dark.

  • 🍔 One morning was spent trying to keep tinyMovieStar entertained with mom, always a tricky task, and then Don showed up. She’s still in love with him, so that helped. He’s also a very talented man with crayons, quickly drawing a bird that proved to be a hit with the little one. We then moved to the dining room, and fries were made, especially for him. We had, of course, a burger.

  • 🎩 The Search for the President. The President of the island has changed since we were last here, and we hadn’t met the new one yet. The old one was an old acquaintance, we were on the island for many months, over the years, during his presidency. Visiting journalists would often seek a interview, so we’d meet for professional reasons, as well as in the street, while out and about. And movieStar had been looking for the new one, as an interview had been requested. How do you find the President? You go out to dinner. He enters the restaurant. That was it.

  • 🐠 5AM pick-up time, that I managed to push back to 6AM. Elias, the fisherman, tried to pick me up 2 meters from my house, on the river that runs next to it. We were going fishing. It was low tide, so he couldn’t quite make it. I walked to his place, on the other bank, and got in. Tiny boat. We motored our way to the hotel down the coast, to pick up Don. An hour later we were there, and another hour thirty to get us to the spot where we’d spend a big part of the day, trying to persuade some fish to jump in. I didn’t, and I’m quite happy it turned out that way for me. The look on the ones that weren’t so lucky, struggling to breathe out of the water, is just heartbreaking. Don caught a couple, and the fisherman was doing it non-stop. The good part about it, and there was of course one, was spending so much time in a place I think it’s the best looking one on the island: the Bay of Needles.

  • 🚗 One of these days we went to dinner at one one the new places, but they had nothing we wanted at the time. So we moved to the one next door, also a new spot. As soon as we got it, movieStar spotted a couple of old friends, from high school. We spent the rest of the evening talking to them, helping the get money (the no ATM on the island is still a thing, and setting up a plan for the following morning. They were only staying for a day, and told us they were hiring a guide to drive them around. They had the car already. movieStar offered my services, I would be their designated guide, along with my lovely assistant, tinyMovieStar. We left early in the morning, drove up to THE viewpoint, down to Banana Beach. Spent a long time there, and then up to the pool at Belo Monte, just in time for a snack. The day was done with a drive to Roça Sundy, where they met our friends, and we picked up movieStar. Back to the city. They were happy. We as well.

  • 🏖️ A beach tour was scheduled for the next morning. We were all going this time, along with a French journalist, another one from New York, and a nice retired couple from the UK, living in Portugal. It’s a wonderful thing, where you ride a boat and stop at a couple of beaches, before getting to the last one, my favorite. A lovely grilled fish meal is served there, with plenty of other treats too. The whole thing takes about 6 hours. tinyMovieStar, first time on a small boat for so long, loved it, after the initial 10 minutes of “why the hell is this rocking?”

  • 😢 Don left. We have met some really nice people here, both local and visiting. But this one will be hard to top. We were both sorry to see them go.

  • ✈️ Our days on the island are coming to an end, and we’re still not sure if the airline strike is happening. That’s the big question now.

thingsThisWeek #37/2

An abandoned blue house, with overgrown vegetation taking over the place.

  • 😎 Sunday was, as it’s supposed to, lazy. We went to the hotel that’s furthest from the city, and spent the whole day lounging around, eating, and talking to our new friends Don and Catherine. tinyMovieStar is so in-love with Don she said she wants to marry him. We came back to the city via the place where we married, and I just had to step off the car and meet Manuel, my best friend there. Of course everyone else started showing up, “Miguel!” was in the air, and it took us a while to get back on the road.

  • 🧸 While we waited for dinner, and for the super handyman Carlitos to fix our hot water issue (it’s been two days with only cold water coming out of the pipes), I finally walked to my godmother’s place to say hi. I knew I’d be in big trouble if I waited any longer. She was aware we were in the city already, of course, one of the kids had ratted me out. The grandkids were all there, with one we’d never met before, as he was born while we were away. Updated her on the news, she did the same. I left, the kids with me. Raquel, Erika, Junior, Ibrahim, Marcos, Fábio, all came to our place, where they met tinyMovieStar. She was asleep when we got home, and really surprised to see all of them playing with her stuff when she woke up. Kids here are the sweetest, though, and have an incredible trick up their sleeves: they clean up after playing!

  • 🎉 We left the house, a kid train following us, and walked around for a bit. Local holiday coming up, so a lot of practicing going on. People are playing music and dancing all over the place. We stopped at a fairground, where dancing was the thing, and tinyMovieStar couldn’t help but join in. Dinner, and back home. Must sleep.

  • ☀️ Sun up very early, and we as well. Time to go to the local cafe, grab one for movieStar, and drive up to Roça. Morning spent doing some video, snack for lunch, afternoon at the pool and sea. The look on tinyMovieStar’s face when she gets in the water. She can’t pick between sand and water. The water is just too warm, so impossible to leave. This is turning into a nice routine.

  • 🥘 We finally found the time to go and have dinner with my godmother. She owns the restaurant where I had my first meal on the island, one that was a reference, and a spot you had to visit, but somehow was left behind. There are a few new venues in the city, finding a decent meal is easier to find now, but she could have kept that place THE one. It feels great to see her, and share a meal with our family, but can’t shake the sadness to see the place so empty. tinyMovieStar spent the whole time playing, getting her hair done, and just having fun. We spent our time talking to her and her daughters, there was a lot of catching up to do.

  • 🤬 There is one person on the island that’s not very nice. A expat, new hire in the company. I’m not wasting my time talking about him, just letting everyone know that paradise is not always perfect. Done.

  • 🍺 One of the awesome things of such a small place, if you enjoy small places, is the community feeling. Everyone is going through life in pretty much the same way, at the same pace. Of course some have an easier life, but everyone is on the same boat. Life/work separation is tough here, as you find each one of your colleagues on the street when you leave work. Thankfully we all get along fine, and have know each other for a long time. It’s a pleasure, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m not even part of the company. Or, maybe, that’s why.

  • 📷 Seems like I have work to do, after all. The owner of the new restaurant called me out a few nights ago, when we were about to leave. He’s knew in town, having moved over from Angola. He’d heard I was a photographer, and wondered if I’d mind taking a photo of his family, as he wanted a nice one, and photographers are hard to find here. Of course, I’m thrilled to do it. They are a nice family, and tinyMovieStar was already in playing buddies terms when he popped the question. Also, it’s not really work, I’m not charging him a cent, of course. Also pro bono, I’ll try a small workshop with some of the company’s employees, a rerun of the mobile photography workshop from a month ago, tropical edition this time.

  • ✈️ Still keeping an eye on the news regarding the strike. There’s one negative thing about this, one alone. If we do get stranded, it’s on the big island, not here. Still ok with it, but here would be so much better. Fingers crossed.

thingsThisWeek #37/1

A toddler and her mother on a deserted beach. The little one is taking her shoes off, mom waiting.

  • 💺 Flying to the other island. Still feeling sick. A pill didn’t help. I did make it through with the extra luggage, at a cost of €40. Arrived at the airport with plenty of time to deal with it, and it was faster than expected. More time left to sit in the waiting room, while a huge C130 revved up its engines just outside the windows. Not the nicest music when your head is hurting.

  • 🏝️ Getting to the airport in Príncipe is another experience I can’t easily put into words. The airport is tiny, and we’ve been there dozens of times. We know everyone who works there. Everyone. They’re always the same. We have picked up, and dropped off, countless guests and friends. The airport plays a very important “public square” role on the island. It’s where you get the news, see who’s coming and going, pick up parcels that are sent from the big island,… Some weeks required daily visits, so we’d be there, talking with the staff, and everyone else, while we waited for airplane. If you have nothing to do, you’ll go to the airport when the plane is coming. This time, stepping out of the tiny aircraft, after almost four years, almost brought tears to my eyes. I was still going down the stairs, and “Miguel!” was already being shouted from all over. Handshakes and hugs all the way to the main building. At the end of it, tinyMovieStar waited, and ran to my arms. Not supposed to, but they opened the door for her. Everyone, obviously, knew they were there, they’d seen them on the morning flight, and they had the same enthusiastic welcome. Probably even more so, a baby is sure to impress.

  • 🍼 tinyMovieStar is having a blast! She’s meeting new people every day. Doing new things daily. Before I arrived they went to Roça Sundy, and she helped the kids there with their work, cracking nuts open. Kids here are not used to white toddlers, as not many make their way here. So they keep touching her skin, and hair, and she’s ok with it. If someone tried that back home, she’d go crazy! She’s not one to enjoy being touched or held, if it’s not someone she really knows. For a loooong time. She been in the river, washing her crocs, while the women wash their clothes. Everyone is thrilled to meet her, and she feels the same. Unless they have missing teeth. If they do, she’ll just say it’s scary, and turn away. We try to talk to her, telling her they are our friends, but it’s not working.

  • 🥘 There are a few new places in town. One would be reason to throw a party, but we’ve heard a couple opened since our last time here. We visited the bigger of those, and the food is really nice. Great venue as well. Unsurprisingly, by the time our food was ready, we had a handful of friends there already, more tables being added to accommodate everyone. This was not arranged. It just happens, when you know a lot of people, and there’s only so many places where they can be. Every time a new person would come along, tinyMovieStar would be all over it, dragging another chair to the table, telling us it was for our friend, so they could sit close to us.

  • 🤫 The quietness of Príncipe (unless it’s Friday). It’s really hard to convey how small the city is. It’s been dubbed “The Smallest Capital City in The World” for a reason, right? It’s small. Add to that the fact that light goes out every night, and it feels you’re alone in the middle of a forest. You can hear the dogs (plenty of those around), the odd motorcycle going by, but not much else. I sleep like a baby. The baby is also sleeping like a baby! Sun is up at 5:30AM, we get up an hour later, maybe, and there’s still a few hours after that with no power. No internet. I write.

  • 🥰 Friday is, also here, party day. Bars (small ones), and restaurants (few of them), catering to the local community, fill up and serve plenty of drinks. By local I also mean the expats living here. You have to be a little “local” to live here. A few have been lured by the promise of working in paradise, and left soon after, when they figure this kind of paradise doesn’t suit them. If you stay for a while, people will accept you, there’s respect going both ways. It’s not easy. And many who were born here can’t wait to get away. Those you stay, local or not, are part of similar teams. Obviously not the same, the standard of living is still very much different, but… Time goes by slowly, a day feel like a few back to back, but, for those who love it, it’s magical. I have never been to a place where I’ve felt more detached from the rest of the world. I love it. The party, though, ends at midnight.

  • 🌑 The darkness. Public illumination is not everywhere, so plenty of dark streets at night. We can hear the chanting at a church that’s not too close. You can’t see them, but they are there. Walking at night is an odd experience too, as people will call out your name, and you can’t see them yet. You hear someone playing music, sounds like a group, move towards the sound, and there’s maybe 20 people there. Musicians and others just dancing around. We stay for a while, another friend finds us, one we hadn’t seen before, but knew we had arrived.

  • 🏖️ The Beach. We also made our way to the beach. THE beach. The one where we met, the one where I proposed. This beach has a lot of memories for us, for our friends. And, now, maybe some will stick with tinyMovieStar. She loved it. At first she wanted to play in the sand but, when she dipped her feet in the water, and figured this was the warmest she had ever found, she was sold on the idea. It was hard to talk her into leaving. The weather wasn’t even that great, cloudy, we could hear a thunderstorm getting closer, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. Incredible couple of hours.

Note: I’m posting this one as 37/1, because so much has happened already, the full week would probably be too long… more later.

thingsThisWeek #36

A man and a woman talk to someone outside the frame.

  • 🏝️ The week (for this purpose weeks start on Saturdays, btw) begins with our minds on the trip, as it’s getting close and we will be on our way, and there, further down these notes. Still a lot to decide, pack, take care, and the days are counting down pretty fast.

  • 🤮 First time for me, poor tinyMovieStar puked all over me this week. She was feeling not so great for a couple of days, so never mind me. Night fever, and coughing a lot. Feeling great during the day. Odd. Thankfully she was fine the day before we flew out.

  • 📺 Watching Treason. We also had the opportunity to re-watch the Shrek saga. The White Lotus thing is ongoing.

  • 📦 Packing. Packing. Packing. A two week stay on the island requires as much packing as is we were actually moving to another country, for good. Everything must go.

  • 📷 Of course I still had to be asked for some photos on the day before we leave, what I’d like to call “Quiet Packing Day”. Went out, got the photos, edited them, sent them, and then I could go back to packing the whole house into a small bag. Ufff…

  • 🤧 Flying with a cold is not fun, but what could I do? On the plus side: Executive! And what a difference that makes on such long flights. War Dogs on the screen. Big screen. tinyMovieStar asleep most of the flight, at least the first leg, to Accra. She had an incredible comfy bed, and still thought it was better to have a nap sitting on her mom’s lap. Clever girl.

  • 🤩 Sir Don. Damn. I can now, forever, say “we picked him up in Accra, and flew in with him”. It sounds like something that would only happen in a movie. Amazing company at dinner time, as expected. movieStar was right, we did get along brilliantly. He also made magic tricks to entertain tinyMovieStar, and she now says “I like playing with uncle Don”.

  • ☀️ We did make it to the island, as you’ve gathered, but now we must hop on to the other one. My flight is the afternoon one, and the girls have tickets for the morning. That means they’ll go early in the morning, and I’m left with most of the luggage, probably there will be some fee that I must pay. I’m also finding out later if I have a slight fever or not, maybe they won’t even let me in!

  • ⏳ All of these will be disclosed on the next report, I’m sending this one now, while I have access to the internet. See you on the other side.

thingsThisWeek 35

An old typewriter, “Royal”.

  • 🌞 Hello, 2023. Dinner with friends, stayed up late, slept in, drove to in-laws. Nothing else. I do not like NYE, for a long time now, and it’s usually followed by a miserable Jan 1st, when we have to deal with a whole day of trying to handle things while extremely tired and suffering from lack of sleep. This year, I’m happy to say, the same thing happened. Glad it’s over. On to the rest of the year.

  • 💻 This year starts with me using IRC again ¯_(ツ)_/¯ has a server going, bye was kind enough to provide an account at their The Lounge install, and I’m there. I was using Igloo as IRC client, but I’m not used to the _you only see stuff that happens when you’re online routine anymore, and The Lounge solves that. Also, since I suppose a few others aren’t that used to IRC as well, a Discord server was also launched, and now we can use both, as they are mirroring everything. It’s not perfect, but I guess it works.

  • 📺 The White Lotus, second chance. We’re loving it, after almost giving up on episode 1. Glad we stuck with it. Season 1 is done, we’re now on Season 2 of the show. We didn’t get too far, both fell asleep while trying to talk tinyMovieStar into it. A few times this week.

  • 🏝️ The preparations are still ongoing for the upcoming trip to the island. While I’m a little nervous about this one, I’m very much looking forward to it. Still a ton to do, but we’ll go in the end. I miss the people, the island, but I’m anxious about doing it with tinyMovieStar. We had a good routine there, both of us working, both of us together the whole time, and that will be no more. I’ll be left with the little one most of the day, in a place that really isn’t prepared for little ones. Many (all?) of the food items we’re used to are not available (someone paid €20 this week for a bar of butter!); there is no support network from family; there are no cafes/restaurants where we can go for food, or even a toilet when we’re out and about; the transport situation is dire, with no taxis, or buses, or anything remotely appropriate… We’ll be stuck in the very little city, away from the beach, and away from everything that could make things a little easier. Anyway, glad to go. Also, almost 7 hours on a plane will certainly be a challenge for our baby girl.

  • 📜 The passport situation is solved. We have our travel documents.

  • 💬 On the Mastodon front, I’ve decided that it’s not worth to keep my instance alive. It’s been very fun, and I cannot thank Vincent enough for setting it up, and putting up with me. At this point in time, though, I’m really REALLY trying to cut down costs, and there were also a couple of things I missed from my times at I had kept both mrBatsu and the stickerspotter accounts there, and now I moved my main one back to the original place.

  • 😴 It was also a strange week when it comes to sleep. The little one would go to bed, with us, we’d fall asleep way too early, then wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. When that routine changed, she had a fever, and we couldn’t sleep again.

  • 📚 Still trying to get going with Unreasonable Behavior by Don McCullin. letting me know I’m at 2%. Brilliant. I have 5 days to finish it, somehow I don’t think I’ll make it.

Note: next week’s thingsThisWeek will be posted, if everything goes according to plan, from the island. Probably still on the bigger one, so we should have no issues with access to a reliable Internet connection. Still…

thingsThisWeek 34

Two Christmas figurines, one holding a pine tree, and has a Christmas present as hat. The other one, further away, has the opposite.

  • 🎄 We made it! We made it to the other side of Christmas! Not before a lot of packing, another batch of cookies (told you!), and a whole day of cartoons. We then went to my parents, had dinner with them, and my brother’s family. Gifts were exchanged. tinyMovieStar was overwhelmed with the whole thing. We were as well. The whole thing is exhausting. We get to meet the family, and spend days together, but we do it pretty much every weekend. This is basically the same, but with presents, and a lot of food.

  • 🧁 Too. Much. Food. For days!

  • 🇺🇦 Miguel, my best friend, is back in Ukraine, and he’s already sharing stuff on his Instagram, complete with Stories. Also on the paper’s site.

  • 📰 Just before leaving for Ukraine he subscribed to the Washington Posta. and was offered another one to give away. I got that one. So far I’m really enjoying the gift. Great app too.

  • 💻 This was also the week when I finally managed to set The Monitor up. Fun times. Props to Adam for everything he keeps doing with Another feature he launched is the referral program, where we get free time for every new member we referred. I thought about turning my free time into gift codes, and did another giveaway.

  • 🍿 We watched a few movies this week: The Queen, Shrek the Halls, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. And we also had time for an incredible Portugues show, available on HBO, Causa Própria. Incredibly good, that’s how I’d rate it.

  • 🇸🇹 We’re going! movieStar has bought the tickets already, and we’re now entering the preparation part of the trip. Only two weeks left, and a ton of things to take care. I don’t even have a passport at the moment, it expired while covid restrictions lasted. tinyMovieStar is about to have her first one too! It’s going to be a very different trip altogether, not even remotely similar to any of the previous ones. I won’t be working, I’ll be on daddy duty 24/7, and our favorite hotel, the one that would make our life a little easier, is undergoing maintenance, closed. The island can be challenging to start with, and going there with a toddler is just adding another layer of messiness. Still looking forward to it. We’re meeting our dear friends again, after 5 years apart!

  • 🏡 Also time to start finding a new tenant, as my friend who’s staying at our place finally got tired of the stupid neighbors upstairs. A suit has been filed, but things take so long over here, she’ll just leave. This will be a huge headache for us.

thingsThisWeek #33

Detail of a bag and jacket during Christmas shopping.

  • 🤧 Common Cold. The whole week with a stuffy nose. Certainly not the way I wanted to end the year, and hopefully I will not, but it’s been more than a week now. No headache anymore, no scratchy throat, but the nose is still not ready.

  • 🍪 Another batch of cookies was baked during this week’s visit to the in-laws. They were delicious again. tinyMovieStar LOVES baking, and she loves routines, so I guess we’ll have these cookie sessions for a long time. Not complaining.

  • 📅 One thing the little one does not have: patience. A cousin gave her a Paw Patrol advent calendar, and she wouldn’t stop until she found Skye. Of course it was hiding behind door number 24. The fun lasted around 10 minutes.

  • 🎨 A photo show opened on Saturday, one where I have a photo. There are 66 of us, each presenting one photo. We weren’t able to make it to the opening, as changing our routines can be a challenge. We just had lunch with my parents, and then drove to meet movieStar’s family. As usual. I wouldn’t mind attending these events, sometimes, but when the day actually gets here I can’t seem to find the energy to do it, with all the juggling that’s needed for that.

  • 🎄 xMas party at the kindergarten. It was a lovely mess. We gathered at the gallery where the event was taking place, after driving the girls there, and getting the car back home again. It was a great party, but a bit chaotic, as expected. Getting so many kids, and parents, behaving properly for that long is not easy. Still, loads of fun, with music, dance, short movies, and a lunch with the whole group. The school is awesome, we’re lucky.

  • 🎅🏼 Driving around during this season is an exercise in patience. Traffic here is usually manageable, at least for someone like me, as I don’t do it often. When December arrives though, everyone seems to turn into a crazy driver. Crawling speed crazy, not Speedy Gonzales crazy.

  • 📺 Finished Harry and Meghan. Done. Meh. Started watching The Recruit, alone. A little boring. Our most watched show, probably of the whole year, and still very much on repeat: Bluey.

  • 👮‍♀️ Neighbor Trouble. That’s sad, and crazy, but our neighbors from the old place seem to have finally lost it. They have behaved erratically before, but this week one of them turned violent, and broke into our place, kicking the door in. With my friend who’s living there inside! Police were called, but he had left already, so not a lot else to do but file a complaint, that will probably take years to get anywhere. And I did get to pay a visit to the local police station the following morning. Yay.

  • 🌳 We moved out of the city for Christmas, a couple of days before the actual date. It’s quieter, and tinyMovieStar gets a few extra days with grandma & grandpa, the dog, the cat, and some of the cousins. Feels more Christmas-y as well. The countryside, and the fully decked out house, add a lot to the season.

thingsThisWeek #32

a toddler standing on a stool, shot from behind

  • 🎄 There’s no other way to start the weekly report: Christmas preparations are very much ongoing! movieStar’s parents are going full force, we went out foraging for pine cones (fireplace needs them), and moss. It’s a yearly event. Christmas villages need moss, of course, and there is only one place where it can come from: the top of the closest mountain. So, off we wen… Oh! No, not really, we didn’t! World Cup day, so no one goes out into the fields looking for pine cones and moss. Also, we lost, so no more World Cup for us. Sad about the moss, don’t care about the rest.

  • 🇲🇦 Congratulations, Morocco. Well done.

  • 🍪 We tried baking something while at my in-laws. I’ll start by saying both of them are great cooks, and my mother-in-law is a great baker as well. On the other hand, my father-in-law has a LOT of trouble following the most basic of recipes, he loves to improvise, driving us mad while he’s doing it. He can get away with a lot while cooking, but baking is not that forgiving. We ended up with something not even remotely similar to our goal and, while trying to fix it, he managed to burn the whole batch. It was hilarious! tinyMovieStar, her mom, and her mom got together, and saved the day with an incredible oven full of cookies, and other delicious treats. That leads us to…

  • 🐻 The Bear. Again. movieStar missed it when I first saw it, but the way I talked about the show made her want to watch it. So we did. She loved it, I enjoyed it again, and now this one is on our “We Watched it Together” list.

  • 🤣 tinyMovieStar, and the sense of humor she’s developing. It’s just the best. The way she talks back, the looks she now throws our way, everything about this little girl is incredible. The other day we were picking her up from kindergarten, and her teacher told us “Today at lunch time I can tell with absolute certainty she was making fun of me”. Yeah. We know.

  • 📷 Out for an assignment for the paper on Monday, and again on Thursday. Never knowing when I’m working can be a little stressful, even though I’m ok most of the time. It does feel good to get out of the house once in a while, and do what I’m trained to do, instead of the stuff I’m shooting these days. The second day included a long drive there and back, with no colleague tagging along, plenty of time to catch up on podcasts that were on the list. The photos are very much unremarkable, and was feeling pretty sick the whole time, but still great to be out and about.

  • 💻 The weblog feature of keeps evolving, and it’s pretty stable already. I have tweaked the css a bit, and my page is up. Still have no clue if/how I’ll use it for. I’d like the homepage to pull quotes from my quote bot, but I’m doing it manually for now, until I figure out if there is a way to automate it. Predictably, I wanted a domain to go with it, and tinyMovieStar was the one that came up with it! So, for better or worse,… lives!

  • 📺 The White Lotus. So many were mentioning it, we started watching this one as well. One episode so far. Meh.

  • 🛶 The rain won’t stop, and the city is a mess. We’re safe, but a lot are not. People have their homes flooded, others are unable to enter the city for work, and chaos is everywhere. According to the experts this has been the worst day in recorded history as far as rain is concerned. It has never rained this much in the city. If this was a few years ago, I’d be all over the place, shooting like a mad man. This time around, I almost feel no desire to go look at how things are. Maybe my journalistic instinct is slowly dying. I just want to stay home with the movieStars, and watch the news unfold from a distance.

  • 🧑🏻‍💻 One of the consequences of the weather was our home internet access going down for over 24 hours. Minor issue when compared to what others were, and are, going through, sure, but a nuisance. Especially when we’re asked to work from home, when schools have limited staff, and work still has to be done. Our provider acted miserably during this whole process, so we’re planning a move. A few perks if we do as well, so sounds like a sure thing. Did not want to deal with it during the holiday season, but…

  • 🤒 Throat, muscle pain, and headaches (mild ones). Also something on the eyes. Still baffled by how frequently I’m sick these days. Friday, still going.

  • 🎨 Tattoo Day! Again! After over two years without an idea, or a tattoo, I’m on a roll! After getting my bandaid tattoo, I got another one this week. There was no way to miss this one, as my best friend was having one, and I’m the one who helped set things up. So, he did it. And I did as well.

thingsThisWeek #31

  • 📷 The workshop! Classes were great, and I actually had a lot of fun walking around the city with a group of people who had never thought about photography beyond the “Let me take a photo” part. The cold, foggy, weather was a first for me up there, so that made it even more interesting for me. I walked to the classroom every day, leaving the hotel with plenty of time for a few photos before class, edited them in a cafe close by, and showed them to the gang before we started. In the end everyone had a good time, and came away with something new. Mission accomplished.

  • 📝 One thing I should have done before classes began was getting a list of references to share with the attendees. Since this was all about mobile photography, and they’re all on Instagram, I’m now working on that list. It’s already shareable, but not complete.

  • 🌰 The whole festival is an awesome idea. Setting things up in a small town can be a challenge, and the gang at Indieror are pros at that. Overcoming difficulties is something they have become quite good at. I haven’t met a single person who comes into contact with them that doesn’t fall in love with the things they do, and them. The fact that they’ve done it in the middle of December, in a place that feels so isolated as their city does, is incredible. Proud to have been invited, proud of them.

  • 🥶 It was cold! It was very VERY cold. We couldn’t find a way to keep tinyMovieStar entertained for longer than 4 days, so ended up moving back south two days earlier than expected. We gave a lift to an old colleague from the paper, now a famous writer/scriptwriter, and that made the drive even better. There was a lot of catching up to do. The trip is a long one, so we decided to have a layover at my in-laws, resting for a day, and then drive the final hour to our hometown.

  • 🎄 Christmas is VERY close, and we can certainly feel that at my in-laws. The house is in full Christmas Mode already, I’m sure the electric bill is going through the roof this month! My father-in-law is probably the biggest Christmas fan in the country, truth be told. He used to build giant Nativity Scenes for display on malls and such. As a hobby! Decorations are all over the place already, the only music allowed is Christmas themed, and he will look menacingly at you if you dare suggest a movie or tv show that’s not in the spirit of the season (mostly joking, of course). It’s also the first Christmas that tinyMovieStar is old enough to get, so she’s having a great time playing around the house with all the extra toys scattered about. She loves Santa already (white beard helping the old man), but Rudolph is the clear winner of her heart.

  • 🍿 We did manage to watch a couple of non-Christmas movies in the end, even with our physical well-being on the line. Sing, and A Man of Action. We spent the whole afternoon at it. It was amazing. Another one on the following day: El Pepe: A Supreme Life, just before picking up the car and, finally, heading home.

  • 🗓️ Adam is having an advent calendar with It’s awesome, and I just want to sit in front of the computer to explore it better. Not sure when that will happen, but I’m really looking forward to it. There is still a lot to do, but it’s great already.

  • 🤪 In tinyMovieStar news, there’s not a lot to say. She’s still her sweet self (that seems to be growing daily), but she will not sleep before 11PM, if we’re lucky. She is a night toddler. And she’s definitely growing up. She’s no longer a baby, and it’s incredible. She now makes very grownup faces, and she jokes a lot. Arranging words into funny expressions is something I love watching her play with.

  • 🇸🇪 IKEA run. A quick one, at least at the shop, but then there’s the second “half”, with hours spent trying to figure out how to assemble the damn things.

  • 💬 WhatsApp groups, and email threads, another Christmas tradition. Sorry if this is turning into a Christmas themed report, but it’s mostly unavoidable. The day is getting closer, and everyone wants to coordinate things. Family, families, want to know when, and what, and how things will happen, and there’s a ton of activities at school that need planning as well. It’s messy, to put it mildly.

  • 🎁 Christmas shopping. One of the things I simply won’t do. I know it’s not cool, but movieStar loves picking stuff for people as much as I hate doing it, so it’s perfect. I’ll drop her off at the chosen place, and pick her up when she calls. I’m lucky, and I thank her, as this saves me from the embarrassment of getting to Christmas Day without a single present. That’s what happened before we met.

  • 📺 Still time to watch the first three episodes of Harry & Meghan on Netflix, and The Masked Scammer. I know, I know, not the best, but there’s no way to escape the royal shenanigans in this household, and I love scammer stories as well. Beats watching the WorldCup, in my opinion.

thingsThisWeek #30

A blue ceramic bird.

  • 🥘 Brother-in-law, and his wife, joined us for Sunday lunch at my in-laws. We didn’t get to see them so often before, but they have been trying to make it every week for a while now, and it’s great. tinyMovieStar LOVES her aunt, and it’s a routine we all seem to enjoy. We spend the entire week at home, the three of us, and having her grandparents and all (or most) of the uncles around during the weekend is something we believe works wonders. She is growing up with a big, loving, family. Can’t get much better.

  • 🥰 Monday came and it was time for tinyMovieStar to go back to school. She was presented with the options: car, or pram. She picked “Papi”. Off we went, piggybacking it, talking to our neighbors on the way, meeting our dog friend, singing, window shopping, the usual. We got there late, but who cares?

  • 🍺 We, the gang (or most of it), managed to get our schedules in sync, and got together for an afternoon beer. It was very enjoyable. One is going back to Ukraine in under a month, the other just recovered from his first bout with Covid, things never seem as carefree as before.

  • 😔 Also time for a sad lunch this week, with a friend who’s going through some hard times in his life. Not getting into a lot of detail here, but parenting can be a challenge, and some people find it hard to cope with the change in their lives. When there’s a baby involved things can spiral out of control pretty quickly, and get to a point of no return. Hopefully he’ll get over this huge bump in his life. I’m not even sure what I can do to help, other than being there for him.

  • 💻 is still going, very well I might add. Vincent did a great job with the install and maintenance and, even though this is not something I really needed, it’s been awesome to have. Keeping it around, loving my Mastodon instance. Worth saying that, if you’re looking to have your own instance, you should really get in touch with him.

  • ⚽️ We finally made it to the end of FIFA Uncovered, while the World Cup of Shame is going on. I have never been a football fan, thankfully, but this whole mess would surely get me off the football train if I ever was. It’s disgusting.

  • 💈 New trip to the barber, as this particular haircut needs a lot of maintenance. And I wanted to be ready for the workshop. There was a TV interview, after all!

  • 📷 The Workshop! My first attempt at teaching non-photographers. I had written about this already, and the time to do it arrived. The trip up north was long, and tiresome. Five hours driving with rain and fog. More about this one on next week’s update, I’m sure.

  • ✏️ I really, REALLY, needed yet another place to share things, as the ones where I’m doing it aren’t nearly enough, so I went ahead and signed up for PencilBooth. Not even sure how/what I’ll use it for, but the idea of pondering a bit longer on a post, mostly photos, and only being able to do it once a week, feels enticing. Anyway, if you want to get these updates as well, sign up at Or don’t.

🙏🏼 Special thanks to jamesvandyne, thingsThisWeek is now a thing, again.

thingsThisWeek #29

  • 💨 This one flew by.
  • 🥘 Covid seem to be under control at the in-laws, so we joined them on Sunday, and had a really nice meal at a nearby restaurant. Not the usual two-day affair, though, we spent one day only with them. On Saturday we just went to my parents for lunch, and then found alternative activities for the afternoon. Play date for the little one.
  • 🍿 El Camino Christmas. Started watching the new season of Drive to Survive. Aloha. And, yes, finally, Tokyo Vice!
  • 🇺🇦 It keeps getting worse. Every. Day. At least my friend is out of there, after close to a month in the country. Stopped in Paris for a week on the way over, and should be in town by Wednesday or Thursday. Beer is ready for him.
  • 📷 Three assignments for the paper this week. A quick one in town, a longer one in the Algarve the next day, and a final one in Sintra, a place I hate going to, on Friday. Busy week. Not at all usual for a freelancer, but they were a little short on staff photographers this week. I missed this kind of work a little more than I thought I did. It’s great seeing old friends again, and learning something new every day. Glad to be back.

thingsThisWeek #28

  • 🍜 And what a Sunday it was!

    We felt marginally better from the stomach bug that’s keeping us on our toes lately and, since the usual trip to the in-laws had to be cancelled due to their Covid infection, we arranged to have lunch with movieStar’s brother and girlfriend.

    We met her, and one of our cousins (Gu) at the beach, since they were there with their dogs (tinyMovieStar’s great friends). The drive over was pleasant, and we always feel a little better when there’s sea at the end of the road.

    Also, as usual, plans were quickly upgraded. We picked up my brother-in-law and Gu’s girlfriend, and had lunch at a great pan-Asian restaurant in Cascais. Thai Green Curry for me, a couple of Sapporo as well. Yummy!

    That part of town has art painted on the street, so the little one was obviously thrilled to be able to sit on blue. And yellow! We also sat on super tall red stools. Great time with colors

    After that we walked to the best ice cream shop in the country, and the little one had way too much strawberry ice-cream. Another cousin skated by, and stopped to meet her. This is one we hadn’t seen in a while, he spends most of his time abroad. He will be the little one’s surf coach in a year or two, and she looked amazed by how tall and blond he is. And she tried the skate!

    There was a fair in town as well, and a rally to support Ukraine at the same time! Busy, busy Cascais. Foot volley players on the beach, music and a party vibe all over. We didn’t stay long.

    We drove to Gu’s place, with more ice-cream in the bag. tinyMovieStar dipped her hand on the cold pool water, and played with the dogs in the grass. By the end of it, surprise, we weren’t feeling that great again, our tummies were complaining: spice food, ice-cream, beer, and churros?? What were we thinking!?

    It was worth it!

  • 🍿 Finished Ted Lasso. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King, The Great Robbery of Brazil’s Central Bank.

  • 🧟‍♂️ On Wednesday, dropped tinyMovieStar off at kindergarten, came back home, went back to bed, and slept four hours. Woke up feeling like a zombie.

  • 🍺 Our usual spot for an afternoon beer is nearly dead. We have a lot of fond memories of the place, and a few relationships that started there. Heck, I didn’t even drink beer before I found about this place!

    It was an incredible place. Cosy, filled with great beer and happy conversation. Over the years the owners have proven over and over they were great people too. And then they decided to open a second shop, and somehow ours felt abandoned. Sometimes it wouldn’t even open and, when they did, the shelves seem emptier by the visit.

    We kept coming, but the visits felt odd. Like we were the only ones pushing it, wanting it to succeed. The owners were nowhere to be seen by now, their visits far and apart. Soon we’d stop showing up as well.

    I get their reasons, to a point. They can, obviously, do whatever they want with their business. It just feels sad that a place with such a cool energy will stop being there.

    A couple of weeks ago a friend came to town from the north of the country, we met him there for a beer. The shelves were even slimmer than usual. It was probably the last time we arranged to meet there.

    This week we drove to one of the breweries in town, one that makes a beer we used to drink there all the time, and I bought a case. I will drink them at home, with friends, and alone. It will have to do.

  • 💻 A have an assignment on the laptop, waiting to be edited. It’s been two weeks since the shoot.

  • 🎉 We had scheduled a dinner party for some friends. Then covid happened to one of them, the gathering was postponed, then back on. We had a lot of fun, with some beer.

    There’s no way to set things up in advance these days. Something always happens in the meantime.

  • 🇺🇦 Friend still in Ukraine, but this should be the last week, he’s probably making his way back home next week. I’ll be able to relax when he’s back here. Just today news appeared about another photojournalist who passed away. RIP.

thingsThisWeek #26/#27

Another couple of weeks went by, and I couldn’t even finish these on time. We’re having two-in-one again… Sorry about that.

  • 🚗 Saturday. The usual lunch and trip out of town to visit the in-laws. We had additional plans, but couldn’t make it. On the following weekend we decided to relax, and spent the entire Sunday there, instead of driving back after lunch. Complete with nap. Perfect.
  • 🍿 The French Dispatch. Finally! And I LOVED IT! Wes Anderson on acid, and I’m very fine with that. The Adam Project, Bad Vegan, WeCrashed, The Wizard of Lies. That’s it.
  • 🏝Seems like the trip is back on. Or not. No, it is! No, not yet… Hmmm… We were planning for a late March departure, but seems like it was postponed. Again. I keep saying no to assignments, because we’re on the verge of going, and then we’re stuck here, and the assignments have been handed to someone else already. Not cool. Still managed to spend a day inside a hotel, shooting an event, a boring one, on a very busy Friday, one that ended with a quick drive to pick up my car from the mechanic, dinner with friends and kids. It was a LONG day.
  • ⏳Sand storm, a few days when our lives had an Instagram/Narcos filter all day long. Sand dust from the Sahara taking over our skies. Not the healthiest choice, breathing problems are also to be taken into consideration. Thankfully it went away quickly.
  • 🥰 Father’s Day. My second one, but this time tinyMovieStar is a little bigger, and she prepared a drawing for me, and it was beautiful. She had a great time too, probably thinking it was my birthday again, and she sang Happy Birthday, that always brings a smile to her face. She does smile (and laugh) a lot, now that I think about it.
  • 🇺🇦 The situation has not improved, at all, and my friend is now in Odessa, after a little while in Moldova, and a quick trip to Mykolaiv. I’m keeping an eye on the areas where he’s going, trying to read whatever news might escape him. Our fingers are permanently crossed now, wishing everything turns out ok for him and tinyMovieStar’s godmother, who has family in the country. She’s worried sick as well.
  • 🎵Our good friends from Chaves, the ones who created the N2 music festival, are in town. We love them, and it’s always a pleasure to welcome them. Had dinner with them, and I was supposed to join them on the award ceremony they’re in town for, but…
  • 🦠 Stomach bug! Yes, another one. movieStar got it, and now I do. Happy days.

thingsThisWeek #24/#25

Unable to publish last week, here goes a 2-in-1 edition.

  • 🇺🇦 The situation in Ukraine took over most of the weeks. Twitter is where I spend most of the free time, for as long as my brain is able to cope. We dropped a few bags with warm clothes and baby stuff at the Ukrainian Church in town when all this started, and a lot of people were doing the same. A LOT. There’s not much else we can do for now, except worry and hope that, somehow, a quick solution is found. Improbable, I know, as each day brings horrible and depressing news.
  • 🍿 No time for anything besides news about Ukraine. No shows, no movies. This will have to change soon.
  • 🍺 We managed to go out and have a beer. Sounds simple, but it’s actually a lot harder than it should. Getting three couples (complete with babies) together involves a lot of planning, and a sprinkle of luck. We made it happen, but one of the parents couldn’t make it. As close to 100% success rate as we could get. We were still happy. The beer was delicious and cold, and we talked… Mostly, of course, about the babies, but the war talk was also on the agenda. It’s unavoidable at this point.
  • 😔 is happening, and I couldn’t find a way to take part. I’m feeling both sad and embarrassed. I was supposed to have a presentation, then couldn’t get things ready on time, it was a mess. A huge one. These past couple of weeks have been hell, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to keep my promise and get the presentation ready.
  • 📷 Work weeks! Damn, I did not miss having so much work. Went all over the place, both for the newspaper and the wine shop. That means a lot of time away from home, and a lot of time at home editing photos.
  • 📱 Tech wise, not a lot going on (see previous list items). I did swap my physical SIM for an eSIM, and got a new number as well. Since I’ve been on the road often these days, I wanted to make sure I always have a working connection in case something happens to tinyMovieStar, so I got a new number from another provider. Also road-related, I gave TomTom another chance. Waze is basically unavoidable here, so many people use it, and that gives it an edge on current road conditions, presence of police on the roads, radars and whatnot, as well as the super Google search for locations. But I’m finding TomTom to be a great contender in looks (Waze looks really basic) and the routing is incredible. Traffic information is awesome as well. No police warning, but I drive so slow I guess I don’t really need them. Also has a nice web view for route planning and saving. Handy. Subscribed for a year.
  • ⛽️A couple of weeks ago there was talk on M.b about gas stations, and attendants that help you filling up, and I was surprised to see one in the city one of these days. They are a regular thing outside the city, but here we can’t find them anymore. I was again surprised when I needed to fill up again, and found my tank cover was gone! The gentleman had forgotten to put the cap back on, and I drove off without it! Went back to the station, but it was gone forever. A new one is on the way. Gas prices are crazy now, way crazier than before (and they were already mental), so we’re driving only when we really need. Diesel went up by 14 cents per litre last Monday, and will go up again next Monday. This time: an extra 25 cents.
  • 👶🏻 A dear friend, one of the three I call close friends, had a baby a couple of months ago, and it’s been hard for them ever since. Thyroid issues from day one, now also blood issues. Getting a blood transfusion this young can’t be easy, for the baby and for them. We look at tinyMovieStar and feel blessed, our hearts tighten whenever we hear the hardship they’re going through.
  • 🙏🏼 A dear friend, one of the three I call close friends, has left for Ukraine. He’s a photojournalist, the one who took over my place as photo editor at the paper, and he will try to get to Odessa and report from there. We started worrying already, as the city seems like hours/days away from being invaded. It’s his first time in a war zone as well, that also adds a layer of worry. I don’t miss that part of the job, at all, and wish him all the best in such a stressful situation. Hope he makes it back safe.
  • 🙋🏻‍♂️ The last of the three I call best friends had no big issues, and he’s the one who ALWAYS has something happening to him! He’s the unluckiest person I know, but these weeks have been good to him.
  • 🍰 I managed to turn 51. We had lunch. It was great.

thingsThisWeek #22

  • 🍷 Comida Independente had a party, we attended. I was supposed to document the event, but things didn’t turn out as easy as expected. I’m not really great at shooting these things, and the end result is always so depressing that I find myself shooting less every time. Of course that means I have fewer, and worse, photos. I guess I should just start saying no to these.
  • 🍿 The Tinder Swindler to start the week, followed by The Drug King. Special Correspondents, second time for me, because movieStar hadn’t seen that one yet. 6 Underground, Screwball, The Highwaymen, True Memoirs of an International Assassin, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing. Series? Inventing Anna. We binged the series, meaning a couple of episodes a night. Last week’s show (Murderville) was left behind. Somehow it didn’t feel funny enough for movieStar, and I’ll have to agree. There are SO many shows to watch, some are bound to be left unwatched.
  • ❤️ Yes, Valentine’s Day happened this week, and I totally forgot it was coming. We ended up having lunch at our Mexican joint down the street, and that was it. Turned out pretty great, with lunchtime margarita happy hour thrown in for good measure. Next year I promise I’ll remember and plan accordingly.
  • 🎥 Movie Day for tinyMovieStar. Kindergarten took the kids to the movies, and she had a great time. It was her first time at the cinema, and they watched mostly Russian short (very short) movies. Everyone was behaving very well, silent and entertained. She slept on the bus that took them back to kindergarten, even though it was a 15 min drive.
  • 🔋Felt tired all week long. No energy. Nothing. Still have some photos left to edit, and took care of another batch, but that was hard. Did nothing worth a sentence. Nothing at all.
  • 🏝 Seems like March might not be the month we go back to the island after all. Confirmation didn’t come through, some things that were planned there have been postponed, so probably our trip will go the same way. A couple of friends have been down there in the past month, we keep hearing about it, looking at the photos. It’s even harder now, when we thought we were so close to going back. April, maybe?
  • 📱Got myself a birthday present, a month before the actual date. Finally upgraded the phone. The X will now go to movieStar, and it’s the phone I enjoyed the most up to now. It was the one that shot most of the photos of the previous years, the best time of my life. It’s been with us on the island, around Asia, a bit of Europe, and, topping that off, it was the phone that captured tinyMovieStar’s first months on this planet. Thank you, mrBatsu.

thingsThisWeek #21

  • 🦥 Zoo time! Haven’t been in ages, didn’t really want to go back, but there you have it. tinyMovieStar rules the world, with movieStar as second-in-command, and we ended up spending a couple of hours at the local zoo with cousins, and their kids. What can I tell you? I’m not a fan of zoos. Can’t recall, but I don’t think I liked them when I was younger. tinyMovieStar loved it tough. She talked about it the whole week. movieStar got her a plush sloth on the way out, and it’s now one of her favorites, along with the panda she’s had for a while.
  • 🍿 Another week, another batch of tv series and movies. Started the weekly marathon with The Hater. Then A Family, Get Him to the Greek, The Fable, The Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill, Untold: Crime & Penalties. We also watched one episode of Murderville. Funny. I heard about this one on Smartless, and was curious about it. Not great, but good enough for a few laughs.
  • 🦷 Teething. Ongoing. These are probably the last ones, but they are proving to be a challenge. Poor thing keeps sticking her finger in her mouth. Still, I find it amazing how strong she is, I’d be rolling around on the floor.
  • 📰 Surprise, I got back and did an assignment for the newspaper I left years ago. Felt good to be back to these assignments. It was a small, simple, affair, but felt great getting in the car and driving an hour out of the city to shoot a place I’ve never been before. When is the next one coming?
  • 🎉 This was also the week when we, finally free from the Covid shackles, could visit both our families. Grandmas and grandpas were happy to see tinyMovieStar again, she was thrilled to see them as well. She played with the dog, she had strawberry ice-cream, scrambled eggs by the dozen, the whole thing… We slept over at my in-laws, and came back on Sunday, after a lively lunch with my brothers-in-law. A day later one of them calls and announces they too got the virus. Not from us, but from someone else at the wake we all attended last week.
  • 🏝Seems like we’re going back to Príncipe. Probably March, but still waiting for the confirmation. A lot of things are worrying me at this point. I’m sure we’ll be fine, but the move from Gang of Two to Gang of Three has me thinking about the preparation a lot more than I used to.

thingsThisWeek #20

  • 🎂 Mother-in-law had a birthday, and we couldn’t attend. We’re still a little scared we might be infecting people even after the mandatory week at home. Still testing positive when the week started, and the cough had yet to disappear. That changed later on, as the week unfolded.
  • 🍿 Made it to the end of The Girl From Oslo, and moved on to… Did watch a couple of movies as well, still on my quest to go through the worst movies on Netflix: Home Team, Munich The Edge of War, The Polka King, The Trader, The Week Of, Bad Boys for Life, Yes Day, Sand Castle, Operation Finale, The Dirt. Busy week! One series that I keep turning to when I have nothing else lined up, or have no time to look for something, is Superstore. Fun enough, perfect for a break while editing photos or other chores. I believe I’ve watched it all already, but don’t mind seeing the odd episode from time to time.
  • 🗳 Sunday was Election Day. This is the one I was working for until my test came back positive, and I’m sad to say that the nazis got a lot more votes than I expected. At the same time, the socialist party managed to get a huge chunk of the votes, an outright majority (way more than expected), and consequently they’ll be able to keep doing what they’ve been doing for six years now.
  • 🦠 We finally tested negative on the Covid test. We had complied with the mandatory isolation, but we were still a little scared to go out and meet people, because our tests kept coming back positive. Now we’re free to go anywhere again. We can visit our parents again! This variant is still going strong, and everyone we know that has kids is getting infected.
  • 🖼 Something I hadn’t done in a long while: go to a museum and see an art show. A colleague from Porto is showing some photos at the prestigious Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon, and Nuno thought it would be a good idea to visit. It was. He rode his bike and offered a lift (always a thrill), and the show was pretty cool. Small, but nice.
  • 💻 Finally got around to it and edited a ton of photos from an assignment that was left behind when the virus came into our lives. Still another one to deal with, but shouldn’t take long.
  • 👶🏻 tinyMovieStar is growing fast. Too fast. I’m aware this is something every parent feels, we were warned about it multiple times, and everyone was spot on. Things happen at a speed I wasn’t prepared for, and she’s not even two yet! Every single day we’re amazed by the new thing she’s doing. She talks a LOT, and I love it. She narrates her whole day, describing what she’s doing at all times. And it gets better and better, every day, with the new words she’s picking up. Sweet as can be.

thingsThisWeek #19

  • 🦠 This week was all about Covid. Locked at home, on mandatory isolation after the positive test. Days One and Two. Days Three and Four. Day Five. Days Six, Seven, and Eight. We made it. It wasn’t easy, but also not too hard. We’re lucky.
  • 🍿 Midnight Asia, not brilliant, but we’re suckers for Asia, so we’ll take it. Also Ozark, amazing, as usual. Laura Linney is incredible. She goes from sweetie pie to devil in one second! Mr Bateman is brilliant. The kids are great, but Julia Garner is… awesome! Two days was all it took to binge the whole season. We also started The Girl From Oslo. It has some moments, but not totally on board with it. Movie count (and quality) very low: Rising High, Get the Goat, The Brothers Grimsby, and Not a Game. Not a good weeks for movies (but I guess I’m to blame by picking the worst ones available), and a great week for tv. Ozark made up for the whole week.
  • 🐦 I celebrated my 15th anniversary on Twitter. Still enjoy it, so maybe I should just say celebrated. I still get a lot out of this site.
  • ✏️ Micro Camp was announced! This year I’ll be one of the presenters, and it’s causing me a bit of anxiety. I’m sure it will be fine in the end, and there’s a note on Ulysses with thousands of characters in it, so there’s that.

thingsThisWeek #18

  • 📷 Starting with work, since that’s how the week began. Quite early in the morning, as a matter of fact. Rougher neighbourhood on Saturday, and then I had to leave the campaign trail for a couple of days, Sunday and Monday spent on the road, visiting vineyards for one of my other clients. Always fun, even though I don’t drink wine. On the campaign trail things are on overdrive, as the election date is approaching. One more week and we’d done, or so I thought when the week started.
  • 😢 Sleeping away from the girls is no fun. No fun at all! Being on the road used to be something I looked forward to, a part of my job that I enjoyed immensely. Not anymore. I end up worrying too much, unable to sleep. We have slept in different houses maybe twice before, but not too far apart. I knew it would take me an hour to get to them. This time I was further away, and with no easy way to make it back.
  • 🦠 Of course the first Covid positive in the family had to be tinyMovieStar, and of course, this had to happen when I was away! Of course. movieStar also tested positive, one day after the little one. The timing was bad. I should be home helping out, and this is the one time I had work that forced me to be out all day, every day! Fear not, as the week ended with the three of us locked inside, isolating as a family! I tested positive on Thursday, and that was that. No more leaving the house, no more work, no more.
  • 🍿 So happy that After Life is back. It’s a great show, one we waited for with anticipation, and it does not disappoint. Amazing writing, stellar performances, it’s wonderful in every way. Sadly, my work schedule during most of this week, and the fact that both movieStars were feeling exhausted with covid side-effects, has prevented us from bingeing this one. We’re good for another week, I believe. No movies were watched this week.
  • 🎙 David Byrne on Smartless. Listened to this one while driving to work this week, trying to keep my brain away from the thought of the positives at home. It worked. Such a great show. The man is a legend. I’ve been listening to his music for decades, loved the interview.
  • 🥰 This week my Ulysses theme was finally approved, and it’s now available. If you use the app, and want to check it out, you can find it here: movieStars.

thingsThisWeek #17

  • 😔 A sad way to start the week, the saddest. As I had work to do during the weekend, I would be unable to spend the weekend with the girls and the in-laws, our usual weekend activity. So, I dropped the girls at their place, out in the countryside, and spent the weekend alone at home. That is, the brief moments I had to be at home. Missed them a lot. Not used to being away from them.
  • 📷 Busy week, shooting the campaign for the upcoming election. Early start every day. It’s great to see old friends again, and being out shooting them is always great fun. We get around the whole district, that’s another plus. I also get some driving time, great to pick up new songs from the radio, or listen to a podcast episode on the way there and back. All in all, I enjoy these. Getting up so early in the morning is a pain, not being able to take tinyMovieStar to kindergarten is not nice, but it’s work, and it will be over soon.
  • 🍿 Thunder Force (⭐️), The Hitman’s Bodyguard(⭐️⭐️⭐️), Who Am I (⭐️⭐️⭐️½), Flight (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️), Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord (⭐️⭐️⭐️), as well as a series, Folk med Ångest. But that is mostly me, movieStar didn’t find it too appealing. I might give up on it as well. We did finish Hit & Run. Nice enough, but we thought it was no match for Fauda. Next up: After Life, season 3. We’ve been waiting for a very long while.
  • 🖍 Back to school for tinyMovieStar, and I couldn’t be the one dropping her off after the vacation. I had to work. Bummer! She did have a birthday party, from her closest friend no less, and was thrilled to get back. Happy for all of us.
  • 🦠 Booster shot day was also a part of the week. We don’t have a vaccination center close to home now, at least not that close, so I drove to the other side of town, and got my shot. In and out in no time, just like before. Furthermore, the week when we started getting emails from tinyMovieStar’s kindergarten, people are testing positive over there. These are the first emails, which is a little scary, but also surprised we didn’t get any before. Classes started in September, it’s incredible that no one caught the bug until now. Anyway, side effects felt a little milder than before, but I had to work the following day, and that was not easy.
  • 💻 No time for anything else. That’s it.

thingsThisWeek #16

  • 🎈 Here we are, 2022! No predictions, as we are well aware how that went a year ago.
  • 🍾 We joined a couple of friends for NYE. The (by now), antigen tests done by everyone before leaving home. And had a wonderful time. The sister of one of them was there as well. She’s going to our island in a few days, and we were left dreaming about it again. Hoping this is the year we make our way back there. Anyway, the night was short, we were back home by 10PM, ready for the new year. Same as last year, the three of us welcomed the new year in bed, together. Last time we did it in our bed, this time we squeezed ourselves into her tiny bed. A cool family tradition was born!
  • 🍿 We made it to the end of the second season of The Morning Show, while watching a couple of movies on the side. This week it was The Laundromat, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Magnificent Seven, The Wedding Ringer, and 2 Guns.
  • 🎨 Getting a Ulysses theme ready! Works great for me as it is, but I want to share it with others. It’s great that Ulysses has this feature, and I’m almost done porting my Drafts theme to the new writing place. The theme already submitted to the official themes page, let’s see how that goes.
  • 🥘 The weekend routine made it to the new year as well: lunch with mom&dad&brother, then move to the countryside and spend the rest of the day, and Sunday, with the in-laws. tinyMovieStar has a blast on the weekends, and so do we. This time we had the company of some cousins we hadn’t seen in a while. My father-in-law had prepared a nice, Thai-inspired, noodle dish, it was delicious! We watched movies by the fireplace, the whole house is as Hygge-compliant as they get. Hot chocolate also available.
  • 😓 This is the week most people get back to work. movieStar’s holiday is over, she’s back at it. I haa a pretty empty schedule this month, but then I got a call and now it seems I’ll be working harder than I expected. Kindergarten opens again next week, not a day too soon. Having this toddler home full-time is not easy, no one gets any work done. She demands attention at all times. Sweet, but exhausting.
  • 📷 Small assignment of the week, out to the countryside to visit a winery. Even though I’m not a wine aficionado (I don’t even drink the thing), these are quickly becoming my favorite assignments: short, iPhone only, fun, out of the city. I’m even doing small video shots, and don’t mind that at all. I did break the Røde microphone’s Lightning port on the first day, but…
  • 🔪 I need a new knife for the kitchen, so left the house to get that, and a couple of other things we needed at home. Somehow, some shops are still closed, so the knife will have to wait a little longer. I did get a couple of new stickers for sticker spotter, and went by the countless guys selling hashish at the Rossio square. It’s incredible that they keep peddling their fake drugs at this place, year after year. This time, they vastly outnumbered the people walking by.
  • 👶🏻 One of our best friends had a baby, and they’re now dealing with everything that comes with that. We’re trying to help, offering advice when requested, and also our services when needed. They’re in for a rough ride, but having a support network is great. We did, and are now paying it forward. Happy to do that as well.
  • 💸 I posted a list of the subscriptions I have going at the moment. I didn’t even have the courage to find how much each of them is costing me, as that would surely make me gasp. I need to do something about it, as it’s getting out of hand. I hate this model, but it’s not going anywhere, so it’s up to me to trim the list.
  • 🥰 Managed to finish the post about Laos for dinkiwinkiminkiwinki, and I’m about to start the one about Japan. I can already feel my mouth watering!

Note: Earlier than usual, but the weekend is going to be crazy and I would have trouble posting it then 😊

thingsThisWeek #15

  • 🎄 Christmas dinner at my parents, as usual, then we moved to movieStar’s parents after that. One-hour drive, and we’re set for the night. Ready for Christmas Day with them and movieStar’s brothers. The little one didn’t get much sleep, so she was a bit cranky. She did love the present opening, and she left some cookies and milk for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeers before going to bed.
  • 🎄 Christmas Day lunch. A big family event, at the in-laws. Cousins show up as well. There’s just too much food. Too much.
  • 🍿 Don’t Look Up. Hmmmm. Tough one to review. Liked it, but not enough to give it over 3 stars on Letterboxd. Too long, not funny enough. Get the message, agree with it, but… something didn’t quite click. Also saw Les Mythos, Death to 2021, and The Equalizer 2. We are also back on the The Morning Show train.
  • ☺️ I like the DayAfter. Dec 26th is the day for me. Less confusion, less stress, lazy day.
  • 🤒 Health-wise, it was a shitty week: after the tonsillitis, I came down with a gastroenteritis. We’d heard it was going around town, and of course, I had to get it.
  • 😃 The sickness has gone away though, hopefully for good, and we did enjoy a great day outside. Since the year will end in no time, we declared that our own New Year’s Eve party, and we’re almost done with the celebration.
  • 💻 Tried Craft for a while, but I think I might actually be going back to Notes for that, as it seems good enough for what I need. Also gave a shot to Fantastical Pro, but my grandfathered features are also working great and are plenty, and ended up on Ulysses again for longer posts with many photos. Less copy and pasting is something I’d love to have in the next year, and I’d love to write longer posts again anyway. That’s the plan, at least.
  • 🍼 We had one last thing to do before the year was done: take a pile of tinyMovieStar’s clothes to our dear friends who just had a baby.
  • 🎉 That’s it. We’ve made it to the end of another one. See you on the other side.

thingsThisWeek #14

  • 😴 I took a pill for the cold, and I believe it was one of those that come with a “Do not operate heavy machinery” warning. I was struggling to keep my eyes open on the highway, driving as slow as I could. It’s not far, so no one was at risk. But fell asleep as soon as we got to my in-laws.

  • 🦠 When we got to my in-laws, feeling pretty bad, and right before I nodded off on the bed, movieStar had time to do a covid test on me. My mother-in-law had one at home, so why not? It’s something that we are now doing on a regular basis. People take them before going to a dinner party, or office Christmas gatherings, football matches, you name it. We can get a few of them for free at the pharmacy, or just buy them and take them at home. Mine came out negative.

  • 💊 Woke up on Sunday still feeling in pretty bad shape, despite taking a few pills, and trying other methods. I guess this will turn into a depressing thingsThisWeek edition, full of disease and throat pain (it hurts!)

  • 🏥 Time to move the circus to the hospital. movieStar thought I might be better off with some antibiotics, since the other medicine is clearly not working, and you need a doctor for that. A short drive and I went to the closest hospital.

  • 📺 We finished The Great. Huzzah!

  • 😷 Tonsillitis on top of a cold. Great. Just what one needs during Christmas week. Now on antibiotics, waiting for them to kick in. No alcohol for a week, that includes Christmas Day. Oops. It’s been a long while since I’ve been sick like this, and there one thing I surely didn’t miss. Hate feeling sick, unable to do much besides staying in bed, falling in and out of sleep.

  • 😭 tinyMovieStar had her first big tantrum. The first one. She didn’t want to leave her grandpas on Sunday, and come back home. Probably because she gets to do everything she wants to, compared to home, where she gets to do everything she wants to.

  • 🧚 tinyMovieStar’s godmother came to visit. Back from London, it was such a pleasure to see her. These are quick visits, but always a great time. One of the people I miss having around, sadly she had to move abroad to look for a brighter future.

  • 💯 Top client award goes to: The one where I can do everything with the iPhone, have fun while at it, takes me out of the city whenever there’s something new to shoot, and gets new add ons for the phone when we figure we need them. Yup, I got really lucky with this one. This is the one I’d work for pro bono.

  • 😓 Managed to finish everything I had pending one day before Christmas Eve. No more editing for me. Have one assignment right after, but it’s one of the cool ones. And I guess that’s it for this year, as far as work goes.

  • 🎄 Merry Christmas, everyone!

thingsThisWeek #13

  • 💊 Pharmacies are everywhere, at least in the city. We have a 24/7 pharmacy close to home, three minute walk away, so we never give this a second thought. If we need something, we go get it, that’s it. Not the same in the village. A couple of pharmacies in town, but not one open after 10PM. You have to drive to the next town, a bigger town, to get your pills. What happens if you don’t own a car? What happens if you do have one, but can’t drive?

  • 🤢 This conjunctivitis/gastroenteritis mix is awful. A couple of days in hell. Following that, a cold. A plain cold, still managed to make me feel miserable.

  • 💻 Testing Craft, wondering if it’s worth paying the subscription. Not too expensive, not too cheap, but not sure if I’ll still be using it in two months time. I LOVE Drafts, and I use the hell out of it. Will this infatuation with the new app hold? Will I find a way to actually use it? Do I even need it?

  • 🎅🏼 xMas party at the kindergarten. We went. We chaperoned. We came back alive. It was actually pretty sweet. Most parents had spent a night a week rehearsing four songs, for a while now, and they were all waiting for us (kids and chaperones) at the big garden close to school. When the kids showed up they thought they were going to listen to the three musicians that were already playing, and suddenly all the parents moved from behind the trees, singing. Beautiful moment. It’s a great school, we’re lucky tinyMovieStar is part of it.

  • 📺 Succession Season 3 has ended! What. A. Show! What are we supposed to watch now? This one had us hooked. We had our Monday nights to look forward to, after the great craziness of the weekends. Now we’ll have to find something to replace it, but are well aware of how difficult that will be. My string of shitty movies is ongoing too. Maybe [The Great]( can help us, we loved the first season.

  • 🍺 It was probably the last time we managed a late afternoon beer with the gang this year. Or what’s left of it. One went to Paris. Another one is days away from becoming a father. Only one is left, the one who’s always there. It was good, albeit short.

  • 📱 13 Pro. Still looking at you!

  • Sublime Ads. It’s worth saying again, this is an AMAZING service. I added a few more ads to my thingsILove list. If you need to serve ads, pick this service. You won’t regret it.

  • 👀 The last thing of the week was a meeting for a new client, visiting the place where I’m supposed to shoot, if I get the job. Still feeling miserable (is this a cold?), but I had to go. Thankfully we’re all wearing masks, so the risk someone will catch it is very small, but would have liked it better is this one had been postponed.

Things I Love