Nov 29, 2020

Acres of hardwood (4)


The living room this morning, with the new dining table, made to order, at the center. It's extendable up to 12 people.

Same story, now in the afternoon

Nov 27, 2020

Acres of hardwood (3)

 One day later, and somebody said, "Let there be light!"

Charlie working on the medicine cupboard in the main room, with the hallway beyond

Nov 26, 2020

Acres of hardwood...

 Remember our post of Nov 15? Well, we are progressing with our acres: 

The hallway, now with the beginning of Chang's new picture gallery...

...and Michael's office, with the bookcase in place, and with the silhouette of Charlie at the kitchen table beyond.

That's all?

Well, here are three drone pictures of the house: 

It's the place in the foreground

It's in the cluster of the six houses in the foreground with the town of Alcobaça in the background

The same perspective, now with the sea on the horizon.

That's all?

Not quite:

Michael, Charlie and Chang taking a break in yesterday's sunny garden

Nov 22, 2020

This afternoon on the Praia do Norte

It's a surfer's paradise with Guiness Book of Records surf. It was fairly quiet today, although the waves still topped four meters or more.

Nov 17, 2020

Nov 15, 2020

We thought we'd end up in a little apartment...

 ...what with all the money trouble we were in.

Instead we got a big villa with acres of oak hardwood floor:

Yes, this is the elevator



Kallax, installed by Charlie

The mezzanine


View into the living room

Nov 13, 2020

Remember Kylie Minogue?


[Verse 1]
Feel my heartbeat
It's the same old feeling coming over me tonight
Me tonight
Feel it buzzing
Said I'm never gonna call, but tonight, I think I might
Think I might

Gave my heart a ride, bump in the night
No one can take me higher
Know it's been a while, baby, a while
Do you still feel the fire?

Nov 12, 2020

Still moving -- Michael's office as a preliminary draft

 So, we are now in place since 11 days, and there's a lot of progress. 

One observation: the locals are very special, and the more you get in contact with them the more consistent the Portuguese experience gets: most--almost all--feature a strange combination of sweetness, softness, and something that passes as natural kindness (even when it comes to bureaucrats). Chang and Michael are exchanging views every day, telling each other that they are so happy here, and even happier than the day before.

And here's the view from the bedroom this morning, at 07:50 local time: 

Nov 8, 2020

We moved, we moved -- into our new home

The south-easterly view from our bedroom on a rainy Sunday morning

Chang and our new friend Charlie in the off-kitchen area (still on Sunday morning). Charlie is helping us moving in, we are very grateful. 

And the picture above Chalie's head?
Well, that's Karl Marx, of course, drawn by Doekel, the daughter of a friend, with a take on a poster by the SDS ("Sozialistischer  deutscher Studentenbund"), from 50 years ago.

Oct 24, 2020

We moved, we moved -- and met our first Covid-victim

Yes, we finally did it--did it precipitously, since Chang feared that the Lusitanians wouldn't let us back in, what with the excessive French Covid infection rates. We did the journey from Cannes to Portugal in two days (normally it takes three). The first night we spent in a rural Airbnb near San Sebastian, where we met the first Covid-victim of our life---the charming Airbnb owner---who told us that she got infected in March---fever, self-isolation in her bed-room---a whole month---food served through a window. She got an X-ray, but the lungs didn't appear affected, even though there was fever and coughing. But now, seven months later, she still feels secondary effects---palpitations and fatigue, mostly. We handed her a bottle of Beaujolais---we had to explain about "Beaujolais"---and left early. Eight hours later we arrived here:

The InnBar on Nazaré beach, Friday, Oct 23, 2020, around 6PM local time

To be continued.


Oct 18, 2020

Trump loses -- singing under the shower

Yes, we know, it won’t happen, it’s unimaginable--in the same way that his win over Hillary was unimaginable...

...but wouldn’t it be nice if you were singing under the shower and come up with a space opera along these lines... 

...Twitter closes his account 6 minutes after Biden is sworn in...

...Trump arrives at the airport, but the Deutsche Bank has already impounded his Boeing 757, whose front wheel is now chained to one of these cannon balls they used to use for chain gangs...

...he's led with his Ivanka-soaked family to some VIP lounge for shelter, but can't get in because his credit card no longer works and the black reception girl behind the counter hates Q-Anon...

...a "situation" develops under the Klieg lights from the cell phones of some other VIPs waiting patiently in line and anticipating that he’ll finally loses his temper in public...

...which he does...

...Trump loses it, he really loses it...

...for the first time in public... more coding, no more “good people on both sides”; no more birth certificates, no more “bad hombres”..., the N-word exits his fish-snout, irrevocably and irredeemably...

...and the black reception girl behind the VIP-lounge counter that hates Q-Anon...

...she dials the Black Panthers unit at the DCPD to have n° 45 arrested for Blatant Racism...

...and The Donald is shackled and perp-walked through the main hall of Ronald Reagan National Airport...

...while his Irina-soaked family is frantically dialling all their friends with influence and heft and help out with one of these Lear Jets that are programmed to fly only to West Palm Beach Airport, but nobody answers... be continued...

Oct 9, 2020

The library nobody wants to piss at

Our friend Glenn sends this:

Donald Trump tried to go after former McCain Campaign Strategist Steve Schmidt, the head of The Lincoln Project, on Twitter. Schmidt didn't hold anything back in his reply:

 “You’ve never beaten me at anything. This is our first dance. Did you like, Covita? We are so much better at this than your team of crooks, wife beaters, degenerates, weirdos and losers.

You are losing. We heard you loved Evita. You saw it so many times. Where will you live out your years in disgrace? Will you buy Jeffrey Epstein’s island? One last extra special deal from him? Or will you be drooling on yourself in a suite at Walter Reed? Maybe you will be in prison?

 I bet you fear that. The Manhattan District Attorney may not be around to cover for you or your crooked kids anymore. Eliza Orlins doesn’t believe in different sets of rules for the Trumps. What about the State Attorney General? You know what you’ve done.

Oh, Donald. Who do you owe almost $500 million in personally guaranteed loans to? It's all coming down. You think you and your disgusting family are going to be in deal-flow next year? Are you really that delusional?

 You are lucky Chris Wallace interrupted you after Joe Biden said you weren’t smart. You started to melt down. That’s the place that hurts the most. Right? Fred Sr., knew it. You’ve spent your whole life proving it. You aren’t very smart. You couldn’t take the SAT on your own. What was the real score? 970? We both know you know.

 Are the steroids wearing off? Is the euphoria fading? Do you feel foggy? Tired? Do you ache? How is the breathing? Hmmm. Are you watching TV today? We will have some nice surprises for you. Everyone is laughing at you. You are a joke. A splendid moron turned deadly clown.

 Did you watch Martha McSally in her debate against American hero, fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly? She is so embarrassed by you. She is ashamed and full of self-loathing for the choice she made in following you over the cliff. She is in free fall now. She will lose, like most of them, because of you.

 We hear from the White House and the campaign everyday. They are betraying you. They are looking to get out alive and salvage careers and their names. It’s Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner vs. Donald Trump Jr., and Kimberly Guilfoyle on the inside. They are at war over scraps and who gets to command what will be the remnants of your rancid cult.

 It’s almost over now. You are the greatest failure in American history. You are the worst president in American history. Disgrace will always precede your name. Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will grow up ashamed of their names.

 One day, I suppose there will be some small and not-much-visited library that bears your name. It will be the type of place where a drunk walks by, staring at the wall for a minute, before deciding it is beneath his dignity to piss on. That’s what is waiting for you.

Joe Biden is a better man. He’s smarter. He’s winning.

 Do you remember when you didn’t want to name Donald Trump Jr., Donald because you were worried about him being a loser named Donald? You were right about that. He is.

 But it is you who will be remembered as America’s greatest loser. You will be crushed in the election!”

Sep 1, 2020

Portugal (24) -- Quinta do campo

Brother, or sister, if you care: we've finished the house hunt, and are targeting a place atop a hill in Alcobaça, which is 6 km from the sea as the crow flies. Today, however, we talk about a different place, located in Valado dos Frades, a few kilometers from Alcobaça, and it's called Quinta do Campo

The main building of the Quinta do Campo

"Quinta" means farm, and this particular one started 900 years ago as the forage point of the Frades (friars) of the monastery in Alcobaça.  

Partial view of the monastery. (The place we are interested in is to the right/south of this picture, up the hill for 600 m or so, make a left, and there you are.)

The monastery is enormous, and possibly twice as large as the medieval downtown of Alcobaça, which, as we learned today, must have been a Moorish settlement initially, due to the prefix "al". 

As John, who runs the place together with two siblings, explained to us, the Quinta provided everything material for the monks, like food, drink (wine), and other substances of material interest; only metaphysical needs required recourse to other sources.

A partial view of the service buildings of the Quinta

Which---come to think of it---testifies to the power, and importance, of pre-modern religious orders.

But then, the order ran afoul of the same forces of darkness which Donald Trump faces in his re-election campaign... liberalism, atheism, and all these terrible creeds that deny the legitimacy of irrational power, and so, a Portuguese king around 1830 decreed the put-down of the monkish orders. The friars were bereft of their Quinta, which was sold to John's great-great...grandfather, a very rich man who had made his fortune in Galicia (northern Spain), and married into the Portuguese aristocracy. Said ancestor erected the manor in the first picture. He also bought kilometers and kilometers (miles and miles) of land around the place at bottom market prices, sired nine children, and lived a happy long life with his spouse.

Yours truly has--in his scandalous political incorrectness--always dreamed of the life of the landed gentry, but he has never seen, despite his visit to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and other places, a home as purely gentrified in its 19th century emanation as this one: 

The library (1),

the library (2),

the library (3),

the drawing room.

It's a pity Agatha Christie never visited this place.

We'll be back. Hold on. We rented an apartment on the Quinta for a few days; this was our entrance:

Apartment F.

(You can book them here)

Aug 23, 2020

Les temps modernes -- Modern times

"Les temps modernes" --named after Charlie Chaplin's film -- was a magazine founded by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre in 1945; it folded in 2019. 

Here's a modern version of the modern times, expressed in the words of our favorite NYT columnist, Ross Douthat. We've been trying to say this since forever, but Douthat says it better, and it doesn't only apply to Republican voters in the US:

"For Republican voters who want more — well, for them you can just make up some triumphs, whether banal (a new social-media executive order!) or exotic (a secret purge of pedophiles!), and trumpet them as victories worthy of Reagan, Lincoln or F.D.R.
In which case Trump could be a special kind of pioneer, and the party he shaped a digital-age novelty: the first political party to exist entirely as a simulation."

"Agathon!", "Alcibiades!" -- Alcibiades crashes Plato's "Symposium"

We've been at it for quite a while, Plato's "Symposium." But now we've hooked up with David Cantero, the famous comic strip artist, and voilà, Alcibiades crashes the Symposium again: 

The text is in German since we are targeting the German market.

Remember the original, Anselm v. Feuerbach's painting of 1874? We've put it up in 2015. Here it is again (click for a larger image):

Portugal (23) -- Praia do Norte

Photo by Chang, taken yesterday (22-8-20)

We've been so slovenly and sloppy and not posting for reasons we don't even dare to explain. Anyhow, we left the beautiful Swiss Valais and hurried to Nazaré, Portugal, where we are house-hunting again.

Last time, in January, the quarry was a bit disappointing, but this time we've already viewed five houses that make the short list. Several of them are situated in the neighborhood  of Sitio, a district of Nazaré, very close to the Praia do Norte, as pictured.

What's so special about the Praia do Norte? Well, the waves. Occasionally, they reach record heights of 30 meters, and the place holds the Guiness Book of Records for the highest surfable waves on the planet:


Jul 21, 2020

Bürchen again -- Switzerland

We're posting this for our Australian friend, Alex Hogan, the famous editor of Gay Flash Fiction -- as usual, we spend the summer here, and we're concerned she'll get the wrong impression if we don't post enough.

Bürchen, the "Chalet Zone", where we are staying

The farmers get together during the summer and have their cows grazing on the communal ground of the village.

In the background: the Dom, the third-highest mountain of the Alps 

Sunset, picture taken from the house of a neighbor nearby

(All pictures taken during the last 14 days by Chang)

Jul 11, 2020

Death on the Beach

Cool, folks, our flash story "Death on the Beach" got reprinted in the summer issue of WickedGayWays:

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