on holidays

A trip up north for «working on thesis» holidays away from the city. Ah... the fresh country air and windy beaches! With visits to friends, family and fiestas; a bit of farming and stops at the beach for cold swims in the ocean. 
Have a great summer break!

# 28 sleep under the stars

After a long bike ride through the city, tracking the same route as tram 28, we ended up dancing to traditional European music performed by these guys at Miradouro da Graça. Pretty amazing set: live music, people dancing and an amazing view of the city. Pity we both have two left feet and were dancing in runners!

on a bike

Yesterday I went for a bike ride. Yes... in Lisbon! The city is actually very bicycle friendly once you've learned how to go around the hills. I stopped at this beautiful shop to buy yarn and the first thing the person behind the counter says to me is "you came by bike?!". I thought that was nice since he really looked surprised. 


Meet Malcolm.
I've been listening these last few days to an ebook. I must confess that this new way of "reading" has converted me specially when the voice through the wiring is Malcolm Gladwell's. The book is Outliers: the story of success. I first was acquainted with Malcolm through Ted on his talk about spaghetti sauce. Yon can ask yourself, how can anyone take 17 minutes of their time and listen to someone lecturing on the amazing world of spaghetti sauce! But it was so captivating that, Pete bought his book Blink and we both started reading it. Blink is about how snap judgments and first impressions really matter. He writes like he speaks: in a clear, explanatory and storytelling way that anyone wants to listen to him speak…even about spaghetti sauce!
The Outliers, is about how behind every success story there is a pattern. That people who get to the top,  don't get there by sheer genius, but due to very hard work (his 10 000 hour theory), to our cultural and geographical backgrounds and to the opportunities we are able to embrace. 
Very inspirational specially at this particular time. I really feel I am not putting in the "10 000 hours" of hard work, mainly due to the lack of motivation (which by the way is always a characteristic of those who get to the top!).  I need to find my way.

# 67 buy a Dr. Seuss book

A quick stop at my favourite shop site in Lisbon and found a Dr. Seuss book "Fox in Socks"  (1965) amongst hundreds of uninteresting books. It cost me 0.75€! Amazing! I tried finding Dr. Seuss books in Lisbon's book stores and book fairs, but no one has ever heard of it over here, which I find a bit odd because they are a classical children's book. They're great to teach english in a fun and simple way.  
This one is about Mr. Fox playing tongue twister games with Mr. Knox who is unable to do so: 

«I can't blab
such blibber blubber!
My tongue isn't 
made of rubber.
Mr. Knox. Now
come now. Come now.
You don't have to
be so dumb now...

Try to say this, 
Mr. Knox, please...

Through three cheese trees
three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, 
freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made
these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made
these trees' cheese freeze.
That's what made these
three free fleas sneeze.»

PS: do you remember a Christmas movie awhile back called How the Grinch stole Christmas? Well, the Grinch is a character created by Dr. Seuss in 1957.

obrigada Valongo

Viana's costume

While searching for old prints on the digital gallery of the New York Public Library, I came across this lovely print dated between 1876 and 1888 of Portuguese jewelry and depicting a traditional Minho costume.
Next month there will be the festivaties in Viana and once again, many discussions will come around on the essence of traditional costumes, on how to properly tie a head scarf, on which side of the skirt a girl must place her pouch, on which aprons are truly authentic and based on original drawings. I always found this type of arguments very partial considering that most of them are based on uncertain oral traditions and institutional figures that have dictated for many years what is and isn't correct. I prefer to consider that costumes accompany the social and aesthetic changes of those who bare them. Nowadays they are in fact costumes of pure vanity and spectacle whether we like it or not.
What I truly find disappointing is the lack of high quality fibers and pigments to weave shirts, aprons and shirts. In a city like Viana, where many people still embroid and weave it’s a pity there is so little investment on raw materials. However, an interesting recreated memory of how to traditionally transform linen into fine threads can still be found today in the Linhal da Corredoura, that I visited some years back. Its takes place once a year and the threads produced will be weaved into shirts and other pieces of clothing.

my thesis gave me a rash

I always found the expression "Just the thought of it gives me a rash" so appealing. Something you dislike so much that the mere thought of it triggers a physical allergic reaction. I’ve been "enjoying" so much trying to write my master’s thesis these past few weeks that I think my body has triggered some sort of allergic reaction! I have my hands, elbows, knees and feet almost covered with little red spots that itch...  
The only thing keeping me from becoming an overall red dot is the side project we are slowly working on. We spent the entire Sunday afternoon sitting in front of our computers, brainstorming for ideas, searching for images, quotes and a name for the whole thing. I don't know when it will officially be launched, but in the mean time, the creative process is nice. 

confidences to a keyboard

I've been reading quite a bit the last few weeks. It helps with the slow writing process. Mostly the literature has been less fiction and more technical. Anyone care to learn about museum objects as documents or share thoughts on museum studies in general? The prospect of being glued to a computer the next few months haunts me.... It's hard to write under this heat, with little motivation to stay home. Hard to concentrate when I can think of 50 other things I could be doing with this spare time. Coffee helps, but only when mixed with lemon and some sugar. I need motivation. Do you think they sell it in pills...