..."Go, park yourself!" -- a new, if so-so neologism...

Sep 23, 2021

Last week


The newly acquired Tesla MODEL Y (one of the first delivered to Europe) in front of the Alcobaça monastery.

Lunch at "Meat", the hamburgeria around the corner from the monastery.

Around 9:00 in the morning.

Antique market on the square of the monastery.

A morning around 7:30.

Our Model Y again, now paired with Tesla's Model 3 which belongs to the vet of our neighbors.

Praia do Norte in the afternoon.

(Pictures, as usual, by Chang Man Yoon)


Behold this poor pool

Lava from the active volcano dripping into an irrigation pool on La Palma 

 

Aug 15, 2021

Hannah & Andreas

 (Click on any picture for a slideshow with larger images; it's worth it:)


We had been invited by our new friends Hannah and Andreas for lunch.

Hannah is an artist, a writer, and many other things. 


She also ran an antique shop, which shows in the interior.


Andreas had been a professional software designer in the olden days (Cobol), then became a professional cook, and finally build a seagoing vessel which took the pair from Germany to Portugal, where they settled 14 years ago. They even speak Portuguese.


So, Andreas cooked for us. This is the main dish, beef filet with a true sauce Béarnaise over an intricate heap of rice.

Michael drank too much, which was wonderful...

...as wonderful as the views of this olive grove across the street*        

Hannah & Andreas, thank you so much!

(*)which looked exactly like the olive grove across the street from the hospital in St. Rémy de Province, immortalized in countless paintings by its patient Vincent van Gogh, who also drank too much.**
(**) All olive groves look the same (David Foster Wallace).

Aug 13, 2021

How are you doing...?

Michael is posting this especially for Alex (Irene Hogan), the famous editor of GFF, who was wondering how we are doing...


This is "us" (Chang and Michael, plus Charlie, our saviour (in the middle), in November '20, in the garden of our new home in Alcobaça (click on any picture for a slide-show)).

The last couple of years, when Michael was looking at his posts on these pages, he felt that people were being misled to think that we were living in paradise. 


The view from our home on the Cote d'Azur ("Nichts ist schwerer zu ertragen als eine lange Reihe von schönen Tagen" (Goethe))

This was far from the truth, unfortunately, since we were in financial trouble and had to sell the place and leave France. But the housing market was down, we could not sell, and in our suppressed state of mind we suffered under this ruthlessly glorious sun rising each morning over the glorious Mediterranean.

A passing cloud comes to the rescue, for once.


But then Covid struk, the markets turned, and we sold the house and moved to Portugal, where we found---for a song---an underrated hilltop villa in Alcobaça, 100 km north of Lisbon, near the coast.
It's the structure with the red roof, not far from...
 

...the Praia do Norte, the beach with the highest surfable waves in the world.

But then, the internet hit in too many ways and our relocation became much more complicated than expected. Here's one trivial example, concerning our print-copy subscription to The Economist. It's a "chat" with their "advisor": 

The Economist (TE): Hi, Ampersant, you are now in a queue and we'll have an advisor with you shortly. 

Michael (M): I am not receiving my print edition since 2 or 3 weeks

TE: Your current position is 1, thank you for holding. 

TE: Your current position is 1, thank you for holding. 

TE: Your current position is 1, thank you for holding. 

TE: Bill has been allocated to the chat.

Bill: Please bear with me for a minute, while I check the information for you.

Bill: Thank you for your patience, Ampersant.

Bill: I've extended your subscription by a further 2 issues to compensate for the missing copies.

Bill: Is there anything else I can help you with?

M: You have no explanation? Did you send the copies?

Bill: Actually there is a issue in delivery, I apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Bill: Hereafter you'll not face the same issue.

M: Could you just be a bit more precise..."issue in delivery"...is that the language I can expect from THE ECONOMIST?

Bill: I'm extremely sorry to inform you that there is an delay with the postal department is I meant.

M: Shall I cancel my subscription, then?

Bill: But now I have forwarded to concerned department, hereafter you will not face delivery delay.

M: I'm not happy about this "chat", I can tell you...

Bill: I'm sorry that you've decided to cancel.

M: I have not decided to cancel...I asked: "Shall I cancel"...

Bill: I'm extremely sorry for that, Ampersant.

M: You are sorry for what?

(Here the chat ended; the "advisor" disappeared from the line).

Are you still there? This is how people have to spend their days these days when they move countries.

Plus, our underrated villa revealed some underrated problems which required all our attention. Plus, Michael developed a problem with his knee.


Not so underrated after all---street view of the house in Nov. '20.
Charlie working on the gate of the driveway

Not all problems are solved yet; we are still somewhat in limbo (etymologically the first sphere of  hell, "limbo", if we recall correctly from memory).

And Michael is not---he's excepting Chang from this, because Chang is everything---we are really not self-help people that believe in self-help slogans.

Anyhow, there we are.

A recent morning lensed from the bedroom; note the pergola.
The new front deck
Entrance; note the ridiculous double doormat
Street view of the house in August 2021

Aug 6, 2021

Michael goes crypto...

...well, not quite, but he does what he rarely does, he reproduces an entire piece from the NYT (last time he did that it was with a column from Ross Douthat about Obama's victory in the 2012 elections). Enjoy: 

Going for Broke in Cryptoland -- 

Some hype coins mint instant millionaires. Others go bust. Why not take a chance?

They have names that make them sound delicious, like Cookie Coin. Or headed for outer space, like Pluto Coin. Or space-bound and delicious, like AstroCake, which was described this way: “Created 5 minutes ago. SAFE.”

Hype coins, as they’re known, sit squarely on the flashy, speculative end of the cryptocurrency business. Every day, dozens of them are created around the world by developers promising fortunes to would-be investors. It usually ends poorly. The vast majority of these tokens are worthless within a couple of weeks. The developers, on the other hand, can make tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes a lot more.

Despite this track record, hype coins have become the investment of choice for millions of people, most of them men in their 30s, or younger, and convinced that the economy writ large is rigged against them. Some are the same traders who have been leaping into stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment. To them, crypto is both a source of hope (in imminent riches) and fellowship (many coins have chats on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, that can sound like faith-based support groups).

It’s hard to think of another financial craze in which so many people poured so much into entities with so little intrinsic value. Few hype coins have any utility as currency. Good luck buying lunch with one. Many are minted in numbers rarely seen outside astronomy books — trillions, quadrillions — which dooms them to vanishingly tiny prices.

From the outside, the hype coin party is a mystery. To understand it, you have to join it.

Which is surprisingly easy. You may have heard that Bitcoin, the granddaddy of crypto, is “mined” by power-gobbling supercomputers, a process that verges on the utterly incomprehensible. Making a hype coin, by contrast, is more like ordering a pizza online. The entire process is automated and speedy. The fixings — in this case, what to call it, how many coins to make and so on — are up to you.

So one day in May, I created my own cryptocurrency. I did it on a Zoom call with an excitable 36-year-old in Taiwan, Dan Arreola, who had posted a tutorial on YouTube about how to make, and promote, a “scam coin.” It has more than 240,000 views.

Jul 18, 2021

Alle reden vom Wetter (2)

Wasn't it prescient, our last post? Here, the climate change in Verviers, Belgium, on July 16, 2021, where the flooding water stacked cars on a roundabout:

 


Jul 8, 2021

"ALLE REDEN VOM WETTER, WIR NICHT"...

     ...was the title of a famous poster by the German Bundesbahn in the winter of 1967, pointing out that their trains would work even when the Autobahn got frozen over:

It got soon parodied by an infamous poster by the SDS ("Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund") a principal agent of the 1968 movement:

And now us, 53 years later: the famous Chang Man Yoon...

...and his infamous partner Michael Ampersant...

...lounging in their swing in the middle of an overheated summer worldwide while enjoying a fresh Atlantic breeze of 22°C in their garden in Alcobaça, Portugal.

(A bit smug, this post, but anyhow.)


Jun 18, 2021

The giant wave

This surf figures in the Guinness Book of records, but it is rare (happening twice per year perhaps) and very local (just at the tip of the Sitio rock, in front of the Forte de São):

  

 "More or less (?)", you ask? Yes, because we are located in Alcobaça, the town next to Nazaré (lower right of the map)...



...and the Praia do Norte (northern beach), where the surf happens and the Forte is located, is ca. 10km away:


An interesting feature, which explains part of the popularity of the region, has to do with the two beaches. The northern beach is wild at all times, and untameable under the unrelenting drift of northerly winds---providing a perfect backdrop for hippies of all generations. In contrast, the southern beach is protected by the cliff---gladly accommodating families with small children and strong preference for sunburns.
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