Archive for April, 2008

A Cool Find

Posted by len on 26th April 2008

H special A P P letter y B i R Wooden Tag T Alphabet Block h D2 A y P1030591 Educational Block U S A Copper Lowercase Letter n Exclamation

This was just too cool that I had to post about it.
Spell anything with pictures automagically retrieved from Flickr: http://metaatem.net/words/

Finally, we can all write untraceable calling cards for our next murder!

Y o U Blue L. L - carved granite Pewter Ransom Font n E V E R C DSC_1551 T Bead Letter C H - Higab House McElman_071126_2042 E C Vintage LEGO Letter O P P E R S Exclamation bag

Posted in Portugal | 36 Comments »

It’s Sue’s DAY!!!

Posted by len on 25th April 2008

The Squid wishes happy birthday to long-standing co-founder Susan.

Coincidentally, this same day is Portuguese Revolution Day! The legendary Carnation Revolution.

No one at work…all praise Susan!

Posted in Portugal | 24 Comments »

The Subtle Aspects of a People

Posted by len on 24th April 2008

There are some little things that you probably have to live amongst another people to notice.
One of the mostly insignificant, but very real, things I’ve noticed about Portuguese people is their patience waiting for others.
Given that I don’t drive a car, this is mostly about that random person who is standing in your way in the sidewalk.
They don’t see you, they’re looking for someone in the distance, fidgeting with keys in their pocket, or something.
Main thing: They’re in your way, they don’t notice you, and you either have to tap them on the shoulder or just say “com licensa” (excuse me, lemme pass, eh?).
So, this situation happens a lot to me, probably because I’m in a biggish city and I walk everywhere. I’m very impatient and immediately start ‘com licensa-ing’ everyone.
But I’ve noticed Portuguese people just roll with it. They stop, stand there for what seems to me an excruciatingly long time of just letting the ‘blockage’ do whatever they’re doing. Amazing patience.
It’s just their way I guess.

Posted in Portugal | 22 Comments »

Dictionaries are a Hoot

Posted by len on 16th April 2008

How many English dictionaries does the average American own over their lifetimes?
How many have you owned?
The only reason I’m wondering is because Susan and I are trying to learn a new language and we own two, very small, dictionaries.
It struck me that’s it’s a perfectly adequate target to blame for my inability to have become fluent by now.
But, actually, this post isn’t about that. That’s just the mile73-like rhetorical hook so you can’t resist reading on!
It’s about the fact that I was doing my Portuguese homework just now and needed to look up the definition of the word bola.
At first I thought I was looking at the word for cake, but that’s bolo (see that “o” at the end?).

When you’re learning a language I’ve heard it’s very useful to try and guess the meaning of words you don’t recognize before looking them up in the dictionario. I guessed something like “ball” for bola. Well, I’ll just post the full entry for you to enjoy…

bo.la sf
1 ball, globe, sphere, any round-shaped object.
2 pop head, wits, think-box
3 an obese person.
4 bras poisoned meatballs (to kill stray dogs).

Posted in Portugal | 24 Comments »

Len’s Inexplicable (but impossible-to-deny) Fascination With Cereal Abroad

Posted by len on 12th April 2008

I don’t really understand it myself but I keep coming back to cereal.
Perhaps it’s due to the induced state of
pondering life’s mysteries right after the day’s first coffee and what’s in front of me: cereal.

Anyhoo, to the real meat of this profound story!

Take a look at this very common cereal here in Portugal: Clusters, almondy goodness.
You may even have it back in the USA. But look at the second image: the back of the box.
See something…er…”off”?

squirrelCereal1.jpg squirrelCereal2.jpg

Hey! Where’d that little feller come from?!

Why (oh why) are Portuguese advertising professionals willing to put full-color feral rodents on cereal boxes?!
The obvious reason: Portuguese people LOVE squirrels. Especially for nut-eating inspiration.
Maybe I’m out of touch with American cereal advertising (yeah, right! – NEVER!), but would you EVER see such a thing on American cereal boxes?
Okay, some of those discount markets in the ghettos have some weird ‘off-brand’ stuff like “Fruit Loots”…but a rodent?

squirrelOnly.jpg

Posted in Portugal | 28 Comments »

A Trip to Evora, Portugal

Posted by len on 6th April 2008

We went on a trip! This is amazing for us since we usually spend our weekends in Lisbon…sitting around.
But, when you live in Adventureland like we do (!) you still get lazy.
So, we left on Thursday mid-day and stayed overnight in a town a little over 2 hours train trip away: Evora.
Here’s a richly narrated slideshow of our adventure that you won’t want to miss!

PS: If the slideshow goes too fast (which it seems to), there are some speed controls in the very upper left.

Posted in Portugal | 33 Comments »

Would you eat this?

Posted by len on 6th April 2008

One of the always-exciting past times in Portugal is to order food on the menu that you’re not 100% sure what it is.
This is pretty common, especially since everything is in some weird language that we barely comprehend.

Would you eat what I have before me here? This was taken at a restaurant we’ve oft dined at but…well…we order conservatively most of the time: lasagna’s great, they even have “wraps”! Very modern. Very non-traditional.
Except this little fella: Polvo. We knew polvo was octopus but it’s always a mystery exactly how it will be served.
I forced myself to eat the whole thing, save for the little part where the tentacles meet the head. For some reason I was too grossed out by that part (some funky darker colors and textures there). According to our friend Jordan I may have been in for a delightful crunchy surprise had I taken it on since it sports the little octopus’ beak. Something they still can’t get tender. Yuk.

Posted in Portugal | 30 Comments »