{babble}

Radio

I mostly listen to the same music. I have a handful of playlists, with a few hundred songs, and usually I’m listening to them on shuffle, and don’t deviate a lot from those. A few of the playlists have been downloaded to the iPhone, and I listen to them when riding motorcycles, or when I’m abroad, as well as when we’re home and, basically, whenever we need a little music on our lives. As one does.

Once a year I try the “You might like this” feature on the streaming service, and enjoy it, but soon I’m back to the same familiar tunes.

The only time I do something different is when I’m driving. I listen to radio. Always the same station, the only one I listen to. It’s been like this for ever.

I used to drive a lot, and this was the station I listened when I did. A lot of the music on those playlists comes from Shazaming songs they play.

I can’t stand any other station. This one is unique, the others all sound alike.

It’s the last thing I do whenever I’m ready to drive away on a car, any car: tune that station, and hit the road.

That station is Radar. 97.8.

I can listen to it when I’m home, but I never do.

I can listen to it on the phone, with Triode or something else, but I never do.

I can listen to it on the browser, but I never do.

I only listen to it while driving. But I can’t drive without it (*).

There’s a streaming link on their site, if you’d like to give it a go.

(*) not 100% true, because the reception gets really spotty far from Lisbon, and I drive in a ton of other places... but you get the point.


This is day 030 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Moving

I don’t like moving. I love moving around, but the place I call home has been the same for 20 years (has it been that long ??)

I kept thinking I’ve been here for 15 years, but time does go by, and it’s been 20 already!

Soon after changing newspapers I bought this place, and have never moved. I’d been a regular in the neighborhood by then, some friends lived here, but the place welcomed me, and soon I was feeling at home.

I’ve said it before, but this place feels like a small village inside a city. We have a fish place, a butcher, cafes, grocery shop, pharmacy, restaurants,... all in a small area.

Every time I had to go up the street to the nearest big one, it felt like I was going into town.

And, obviously, we get to know the people, and after a while start to appreciate knowing their names, greeting them every day, the postal workers know you already, the shopkeepers know your preferences, ... the list of things I love here is endless.

I thought I’d never leave.

I lived here for most of my years at the paper, going away on assignments and, on the later years, having a regular desk job, but always had this place to end up at. My safe haven.

Then movieStar moved in.

We traveled quite a bit, and spent months away in Príncipe, but always came back to the same place, the same people, and the same cosy feeling.

tinyMovieStar was born, pandemic struck, we moved with my in-laws for a little while. Ended up staying there for half a year. It felt good having all that space, along with the amazing support they provided, but when we got home again, we both felt we were home at last.

The apartment is on the smaller side, soon enough it was feeling tiny, and there’s no pause button on this. The baby will keep getting bigger, and the place that was perfect for two is not big enough for three. Turns out babies are quite small, but take up an incredible amount of space!

We were looking for a unicorn place: in the same area, bigger, but within our price range. This year has not been a great one regarding work, so that price range was more limited than we’d hoped.

Also, the area where we live has seen housing prices skyrocket. Airbnb to blame, tourists are more profitable than locals, and most landlords and home owners aren’t in it to help people. Money is their motivation.

In the end, thanks to movieStar’s relentless search for the right apartment, we found one that is as close to perfect as we could hope for. Still overpriced, but close to home.

We’ll be paying rent from now on, also a strange feeling for me, since we own our place. It’s odd and taking a while for that part to sink in.

It’s only an eight minute walk from the new house to the old one, but it still feels like a world apart. We’ll be closer to the big supermarket, closer to the subway station, closer to a few other things, but in my mind it’s far from everything we love about living here.

I’ll get over it, I’m sure, and we’ll still spend our free time in the same square and garden. But...

I really hate moving.


This is day 029 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

I blame my parents.

movieStar thought it would be a good idea to get the show on the road, and introduce her tiny version to the beach.

We picked the Algarve, a decent hotel with the amenities we believed would make our excursion easier (it worked) and off we went.

We needed a car for the ride, one that’s a bit more practical than our own, so we borrowed one from my parents. When I went to pick it up, my mom said I was the same exact age as tinyMovieStar when we went to Spain. Four months old, first trip.

I have a lot to be thankful, a LOT! Mom & Dad are amazing, and this is one of the things I’ll always be thankful for, and one I’ll try to pass along.

Every year, when summer came, they would get my brother and me into the car, and off we’d go. We traveled a lot in country, but I can still remember the trips abroad. Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, ... heck, we went to Yugoslavia, that’s not even a thing anymore!

Always camping, traveling on country roads, pre-Air Con, pre-GPS, pre-entertainment systems. Two kids. How did they manage that ??

I was tasked with the navigation. Yes, at the time I actually thought I was. My love of maps started there. Holding a huge Europe atlas on my tiny lap, I would trace the route with my finger, memorizing the cities along the way. I would help pick the camping site, with another big book, looking for places with pools. That was our thing, pools. We were swimmers (there’s another post in there).

I learned how to ride a bike in a camping site in France, and ate delicious apples from an orchard in another one in Germany. We had yummy ice cream in Venice, and swam freely in the ocean in Nice. We visited castles that were nothing like the ones back home, and tried to decode signs in languages we would never speak.

I will never be able to thank them enough.

Every August was an adventure, and a big one at that. And it stuck! I found a job that would allow me to keep going to new places, and later on an amazing woman found me and helped keep that alive.

Hopefully tinyMovieStar will get that from us.


This is day 028 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Tested

An empty parking lot, a huge one, and two tents, like the ones you’ll find at a wedding reception, if it’s that kind of wedding.

A ton of policemen, a couple of lab technicians, dressed in full hazmat suits.

You have to show up in a car, mask on, windows rolled all the way up.

It’s 08:30AM and there are a few cars already, maybe seven. A van from a tv production company, with three people about to be tested, probably actors, and a driver. Me, another person from a different tv company, and a few non-tv related people. Half the people work in entertainment.

When my turn comes, one policeman motions me forward, there’s a course I have to navigate, like the ones in Drivers Ed, ending in another policeman and a STOP sign. I have to wait until the technicians say it’s ok to go.

I pull up into the tent, turn the engine off, the first technician points to a phone number, written in huge characters. I call that number and speak to her on the phone. She’s sitting two meters away, at a computer, holding a Bluetooth speaker. I can hear my voice coming out of the speaker. Loudly.

Full name, date of birth, SS number, email and phone.

I check that all the details have been properly understood on a sheet of paper she presses against the car window.

I then get my ID card and pull the mask down, she checks it’s me.

All is fine, turn on the car and move three meters forward, where I turn it off again and get ready for the actual test.

The second technician asks for the window to be rolled down half way and the same with the mask, halfway down, exposing my nose.

The swab seems to be two meters long. She inserts the thing into my nose and pushes. And pushes some more. And a little more. I feel it in my throat, all the way down, already gagging and she still has a meter to go. A little extra push.

And it’s done.

Turn the car on, and move away.

I’m tested.


This is day 027 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Back to Work

Happy and not happy. Or not happy, but has to be done.

Getting back to work was taking some time, but I was quite happy without working.

Being a freelancer in this field is not easy during a pandemic, as most tv productions were halted, and other things (portraits, events) also stopped.

I’ve had no work since March, half a year is gone anyway, why not make it to New Year’s Eve ?

I embraced the being-at-home lifestyle, and was just getting used to the (a lot) less-money-for-silly-things routine, when the call came.

Would I be available to do some set photography on this and that dates ? I knew my schedule was clear for those dates, almost for sure, but in my mind those dates were very far.

Turns out they were not, I’m starting in two days, with the mandatory COVID test taking place tomorrow!

I don’t even have enough time to get accustomed to the idea that I’ll be working, what with all the gear I must check, and batteries that need charging.

And tinyMovieStar? How will she survive without me ?

And how will I survive without her ??

It’s going to be a hard week.


This is day 026 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Back to old places.

“O bom filho a casa torna.”

Today I went back to my old barber.

Years ago I used to go to a barbershop close to home. He was an amazing barber, top of his game, a photography aficionado, skater, motorcycle rider, tattoo connoisseur,...

His place was recommended to me by another photographer, and I started going there all the time, whenever my hair needed a trim. I loved it.

His business grew, I was thrilled for him, it’s always a great feeling when you see your friends succeeding. A lot of tourists dropping by as well, as in a lot of businesses around town. He stated using an online scheduling app, and I was fine with that. At the time I had a staff job, so I could plan ahead. Bookings with him now had to be made two months in advance!

When I gave up the job and started freelancing it became harder to always show up on the booked dates, sometimes I wasn’t free, others out of town. I hated failing him, and every time I had to phone in and say I wouldn’t be able to make it my heart was broken. I knew he’d have a ton of tourists waiting for a walk-in, but I wasn’t comfortable with the situation.

Then we started traveling for months, and I didn’t even had the opportunity to book. I would always make a point of finding a decent barbershop in the cities we visited. I enjoyed the experience of getting a haircut in Chiang Mai, or Hue, or Príncipe, or wherever we might be, but still missed him.

When we were back in town I couldn’t wait the two months for the appointment, so I found a new place near a studio I spent a lot of time at, and started getting my cut there.

Pandemic struck, I did what everyone else seems to have done, got my hair done at home.

Yesterday, during our walk, we were close to the barbershop, I asked my wife if she would mind if we dropped by, and check how they were doing. They had a huge drop in business with the lack of tourists, and forced closure for a couple of months. She did not, said we should, and we did.

It was so nice seeing him again. Like old friends we picked the conversation where we had left it years ago, he was thrilled to see tinyMovieStar, and he’s one of the few who uses ‘Miguelito’ to address me. His name is also Miguel, by the way.

I made an appointment for today. We talked about fatherhood, motorcycles and photography. I was happy.

I was back.


This is day 025 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Nothing.

I feel I’ve been doing nothing lately. Nothing besides taking care of movieStar and tinyMovieStar, the two most important people in my life.

Someone told me on Micro.blog that that is not doing nothing, that it’s doing something, maybe a lot.

And I guess it is. There is nothing I’d rather be doing, truth be told, and it is something. Probably, if I succeed, even a lot.

But it’s a change in pace, and I’m still getting used how big a change this is.

Getting used to not leaving for work, or to having no work, getting used to not being up to date on the news, not knowing what shows I’m missing, not having my time in front of the computer trying to figure out how to do this or that, not being able to read the books that keep piling up on my virtual bookshelf, not going out to dinner with our friends, not...

I knew, and accepted, that a change was coming. And a big one.

And I know, hope, that all those things will come back later on.

But I was that person, and that person is no more. I’m a different one now.

Now I’m Clara’s dad.

Even when some of those return, I will still be Clara’s dad.

Yes, I guess that’s something.


This is day 024 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Walking.

I have always walked a lot. I’d walk alone, for hours, taking photos along the way, lazily smoking my cigarettes.

I met movieStar and she loved walking. We walked all over the world, discovering things together. Our pace matched, and I remember thinking it was one of the most important things to have: a compatible walking pace. If it’s not easy to walk along with a photographer when you’re one, it can be even harder when you’re not. Photographers can be very annoying walking buddies. But we did it perfectly together.

I was not walking alone anymore.

We walked all over, day and night, on cities and country roads, we were cold sometimes and endured hellish heat on others. And it was always fun, or we remember it as such after the hard part was done.

Covid and tinyMovieStar arrived and the only complaint my wife had was that she missed walking. We were stuck inside, for months, and she missed the walks. And so did I.

We came home a couple of weeks ago and I’m happy to say walking has resumed.
Lisbon is a very walkable city, and we’re doing one or two walks a day. It feels great. Sometimes friends join us, most times we do it on our own.

There’s three of us now.


This is day 023 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Still here.

I actually have some ideas on my mind, but have no time to sit down and write them.

I'm too exhausted when night falls and the girls are asleep. I would use that time to get my head together and try to make sense of things for a post, but nowadays I'm just too tired and crash as well.

Being home means a lot more work, and a lot less time.

I'm here, but just half of me. I promise I'll be back to my old self in no time. No later than 2033.


This is day 022 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

No time.

We moved back to our own place and I have close to no free time.

We're now graduated to Full Parent status, with no help from the in-laws. This is when the going gets though(er).

We are now responsible for everything that we so happily enjoyed during these first months of tinyMovieStar's life, and that means less time for all else. Cooking and cleaning and washing and shopping are now part of our duties, as they should, and I'm back to feeling exhausted, much like when she was born. And now there's no grandma around to keep an eye on her while we take a quick nap after lunch.

I expect we'll get things under control in a few days.

I'm still trying to keep the 100 days on track, but fear the worst.

As I said on my last post, social media usage is going down, and it will probably keep that trajectory going forward. Thankfully there's Micro.blog, the safe haven, where things feel normal.


This is day 021 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.