December 26, 2012

2013, New Year of the Snake Greeting Cards

Cute Chinese Happy New Year of the Snake Post Card
Cute Chinese Happy New Year of the Snake Post Card by giftsbonanza
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The Chinese Zodiac or Chinese Animal Astrology is represented by the 12 animal symbols (The Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Boar), the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) and the Yin-Yang theory. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2013 is the Year of the Snake, which begins on February 10, 2013 and ends on January 30, 2014. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs! I found a few New Year Snake Greeting Cards at Zazzle. 

December 21, 2012

I survived the end of the world tshirts!

Mayan Apocalypse Tees
Mayan Apocalypse Tees by craigsoup
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I Survived, 2012 Shirt
I Survived, 2012 Shirt by watamyr
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This time it was my nephew who told me about these I survived the end of the world tee-shirts. He found it on the internet so he asked me to do a search for it on Zazzle - he knows what Zazzle is, well, more or less! He was right! Some Zazzle store owners are already selling I survided the Mayan apocalyse t-shirts. They are really fun! Not time left to get one for Christmas gift or I woul buy one for Gabriel, my nephew. But it's a tshirt many youngsters will love to wear next year, I am sure. Zazzle artists came up with some simple yet appealing designs for it mainly using the Mayan calendar image or glyphs.

The Mayans lived on the Yucatan Peninsula in the eastern part of Mesoamerica. The Mayans were artists and built spectacular architecture. The ancient Mayas invented also a calendar of remarkable accuracy. December 21, 2012 marks the completion of the Great Mayan Cycle, and the beginning of a New World Age. Fears about  the end of the world have spread across the world! Lots of surviving shelters were sold, also food supplies and lots of candles!  The majority of the population did not believe the Mayan Prophecy but I read that many, many children were scared by the possibility. Remember 2012, an adventure movie about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world? Hollywood loves this kind of big disaster films. Some are good, some are terrible. 2012 is a terrible film, starring a decent actor named John Cusack. It was a summer hit of 2009. That was scary enough for some of us!!I know that some  restaurants organized special dinner parties to celebrate the end of the word... not. How awesome it would be to have one of this I survived the end of the world tee-shirts to wear! 

Anyway, we all survived 12.21.12. Let's just take a moment to think about the possibility of the end and the joy of being alive. Mayan elders have wisdom and they knew that the mayan Prophecy it wasn't about the end of the world. This video has an important message: we had enough of war already, we have enough guns to kill people and to destroy nature. Let's start building something to help mankind not destroy it!

December 19, 2012


It's not difficult to make a list of films that are about or otherwise related to the Christmas holiday. With the cold weather to stay home and watch a movie with our family is a good idea for sure. I have some titles I watched over Christmas and everytime I think about it they remind me of Christmas, it's movies like About a boy, or Bridget Jone's Diary, or 
Edward Scissor's Hands. This week I had the chance to watch Warrior and I think it will fall into that category also. It's an excellent movie, you can watch it any time of the year. Even if Warrior it's about world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting, this movie it's also about family. It has a good story. Even if you don't like fighting I dare you to watch it. It will surprise you, I really loved it.

Well, I just read that Critics' Circle  announced the nominations for its 33rd Film Awards. Michael Haneke’s Amour and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master lead the nominations. I was surprised to find a Portuguese film in the list. It's TABUIt's running for FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR with Amour, Holy Motors, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Rust and Bone. Tabu was already nominated for Golden Berlin Bear at Berlin International Film Festival.
If you don't know what these Awards are, you can read more about it at the site of Critics Circle Organization.

December 17, 2012

Happy Christmas to all my friends

Hello friends!

The upcoming holidays and New Year celebrations are about spending quality time with your loved ones, gathering around the dinner table, unwrapping gifts!! I want to wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Maybe you are wandering how's Christmas in Portugal. Well, in Portugal  children and adults get their Christmas gifts either at midnight on Christmas Eve or on early Christmas Day morning. It was like this when I was a child and with my nephew it's just the same. Shoes are placed near the fireplace and that's where we place the presents. For many years I lived in houses without a fireplace. So the shoes were placed under the Christmas tree after they were properly cleaned and shinny to please the Pai Natal (=Father Christmas) - he's the guy who delivers the presents along with the help of Baby Jesus. Have you got all your Christmas gifts already? Well, I have. I bought several books because that's something I really enjoy giving. I hand made some gifts myself too. I have most of it ready to go. 
Many Portuguese families sets up a Nativity scene, called Presépio, with Mary, Joseph, the stable animals and the Baby. Other characteres can be the Three Wise Men and shepherds. Some cities or church nativity scenes can have hundreds of little caly figurines and movement.
On Christmas Eve we have a light dinner- it's called Consoada. Usually we eat boiled (dried) codfish, and  potatos, vegetables and eggs as side dish. Bacalhau (cod) is a fish with a bland taste that needs to be salted and dried in the sun, so it becomes the perfect foil for garlic and olive oil.  After that we have cakes and sweet desserts to finish the meal. Bolo rei is the most famous - it's a round cake with glazed fruits, nuts and sugar, quite colorful. And also rabanadas! Rabanadas are slices of white bread that has been soaked in milk and eggs and then fried. Then the fried golden slices get cinamon and sugar  and are dipped in sugar and Oporto wine sauce.  In some places a traditional Mess takes place at midnight and that's called The rooster mess or Missa do galo. Families usually come together on Christmas Day and have lunch together. This meal is a meat one. And that's it!

December 11, 2012

Belém Tower from the sky

Belém Tower was completed in 1521. Imagine the sailors who crossed the Atlantic or rounded the Cape of Good Hope to India returning home in their ships and preparing to enter big Tagus river mouth - that would be the first sign of land they saw.  In 1983 UNESCO classified it as a World Heritage Site
Belém Tower was built in the Age of the Discoveries as a tribute to the patron saint of the city, Saint Vicente. That's why she's called Saint Vicente's Tower. But most people know it as Belém Tower. This tower planted in the water was part of Lisbon's defense by the time of King João II. It's a beautiful monument that contains North African Moorish styled watchtowers, Manueline decoration, symbols of the King’s power like cables encircling the building terminating knots, armillary spheres, crosses of the Military Order of Christ. Also naturalistic elements such as the rhinoceros. This is the first rhinoceros representation in stone known in Europe. Later in time Belém Tower would be a customs control point, a telegraph station, a lighthouse and a political prison. The Tower's storerooms were transforemd into dungeons, since the time when Philip II of Spain became king of Portugal (1580) and during periods of political unrest. Now it's one of the most popular icons of Lisbon and Portugal. 

Pink Floyed filmed the tower for a promotional video.  Pink Floyd  was here 22 and 23rd July 1994. 120 000 persons joined at Alvalade Stadium to watch the two memorable shows.

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Hello Zazzlers and friends! 
It's only 14 days until Christmas! I hate the commercial holiday that most people call christmas but I'm not against the gifts exchange, of course. My perceptions of Christmas have been changed by time and experience but even when I was a child this wasn't my favourite time of the year. I lived in the north of the country in a city called Braga, surround by mountains. Braga is a very religious place where holidays like Christmas or Easter are taken very seriously. I had a tree in the house, a Christmas dinner and Christmas presents like any child. But winter was a dark time for me and still is - I disliked the lack of light and electric colorful lights from decorations did not compensate the absence of the sun - for most Christmas we got cold and rain. I had no school class at Christmas, I was home for two weeks and that was nice. I enjoyed the smell of cookies in the kitchen and getting Christmas cards from my mother's friends and family! But for the big time fun I had to wait until June's S. João Festival - S. João was my hero, not Santa Claus!! This year it will be difficult to be "jolly"  when you know things aren't going so great  for a lot of Portuguese people. This time of the year will be hard on those who are unemployed and feeling hopeless as another year of austerity is about to start. I guess most of us are not quite jolly about anything. As for me I always try to be positive and keep going. Whining is not the solution. No one will solve my problems. 
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