The Antidote

During this holidays, I finished “The Antidote“. I think I bought it based on some article from Mark Mason. I was a bit sceptical because I didnt really understand the concept of “Positive Thinking”. In the first chapter, got the point quickly.

Main subject is focused on the wrong approach to extreme positivism and how could be better to focus in the negative, because the way we are defining happiness, we are sabotaging ourselves. That can be difficult to swallow and even more difficult to explain for me. But it is mainly based on the concepts of Stoicism and Buddhism. You are not your feelings, you are not thoughts, and you can’t control others or anything external to yourself. We can’t remove suffering from the world.

As well, there is another chapter for goals. I think it is important to set goals, meaningful ones, for your life but the some extreme (again) goalsetting is counterproductive.

One thing I liked is how we put in a pedestal successful people, how we write and read about them, how we try to find the magical formula for that. But we never read about the failure. And it was quite interesting to read that there is a museum for failed products, that is rarely visited from product managers, marketing executives, etc. The older I get, the more I realised that the kind of success we cheer and read in our cut-throat capitalism, it is just a mere coincidence and probability. I am pretty sure we could find hundreds of examples from people who have the same treats as those successful ones, followed the same process, and failed miserably. So yes, embracing failure and being comfortable with it, is something I believe (and I need to put in practice more often)

As well, the book talks about insecurity and death (memento mori). For the insecurity subject, he makes a lot of references to the “Wisdom of Insecurity” that I have already read but to be honest, I struggled with it. And again, the extreme obsession with security, it is counterproductive, and it is a return again to Stoicism/Buddhism concepts. And for the obsession with death, we are missing the point of leaving the current moment, and accept that is part of “life”. The book mentions “The power of Now” although not directly in this chapter. I have that book in my pile but struggled with it in the very beginning and had to put it back. I will have to give it another go.

In general, I liked the book, it was better than I expected. It touches a lot of subjects that are important for me and I want to follow and I needed a refresh, as I think I lost track lately.


This week I have been on holidays. I needed a break nearly after a year from last one. I decided going to Scotland as I didnt have to fly, deal with COVID restrictions and because it was so close that I am ashamed of not visiting after so many years being around. And a good friend joined me.

My main goal was being outside, seeing the highlands, trekking a bit. And visit Edinburgh as many people has recommend it.

Firstly visited Isle of Skye. I drove from Edinburgh and it was a bit of a challenge as I am not used to drive with the wheel on the right and it was long drive too. But the views were amazing, so many mountains (some with snow) and so many lakes.

I visited the Talisker distillery as my friend was keen of whiskey. It was interesting to learn that most whiskey distilleries in Scotland are managed by Diageo group. The tour wasnt very good as it was too quick and didnt have time to see the whole process but I realised that this is not an artesanal product anymore. It is like a car factory chain process. A part of the process is done in the distillery and the others in some parts of Scotland. Still I was nice to “taste” different kind of whiskeys. I learn that each year in the barrel, it loses around 2% alcohol. So the longer it stays, the lowest alcohol content it has. And with each distillation, you remove some % of alcohol, as it is toxic for human beings. I am not good at drinking alcohol but was interested in the flavours. The “smoky” flour comes from burning “peat” when drying the barley. And “peat” is only found in some parts of Scotland. As well, the smokiness relates to the colour too. The ingredients are water, barley and yeast.

The main trekking we did was the The Storr. I really enjoyed. It was the best part of the trip for me, when returning, we stopped to enjoy the silence and the rain. I wish we could have walked the whole day.

We tried to walk in other places but it seemed the car parks were closed until June. At the end we drove the whole north part of the Isle stopping in some other places.

We stayed in a typical cottage and it was really good, very cosy.

Then we went to Glencoe to hike somewhere else before sleeping in Oban. It seems Glencoe was featured in Skyfall movie although the house is not real. I lost GPS/4G when getting close to Aonach Eagach and by mistake we did a totally different route, the “hidden valley” or Coire Gabhail in the Three Sisters. And it was nice, we climbed via a river birth with some nice waterfalls until a small valley. Although the best part was eating our “bocata” in the car park facing the mountains after the trekk.

Oban is a small city but it was nice. We visited Oban distillery (part of Diageo) and it was better experience, although the tasting crashed me one hour after… Here is where it was better explained the process and the different types of whiskey. We tried whiskey from a barrel (aprox 10y), that was over 60%… We learned about the blends, single malt and why it is difficult to state the age of whiskey when you change to a different barrel to give a last kick in flavour. As well, it seems all barrels comes from USA bourbon production because they can’t reuse them. It seems it was an initial rule to keep the production of barrels.

Our last trek was around Callander, as I failed to find a route to Ben Vorlich. It was heartbreaking to see “forest works” cutting trees, many trees…. And it is something we saw in several places in our trip. I thought the typical Highland mountains without tries it was normal, but it is not. We saw many mountains with trees in several parts regardless the height and others totally empty. This was clearly the low light of the trip. In Callander, my friend tried a pie of haggies and it was very tasty!

Our last stop was Edinburgh. I returned the car in one piece!!! \o/

We didnt stay much but I learned some interesting facts. In Saint Cuthbert church, John Napier is buried there. And Agatha Christie married in the church.

David Hume lobbied the town council for building public walks in Calton Hill.

We visited St Giles church. Learned about him and his deer 🙂 As well, St Andrew who is the patron saint of Scotland, never reached it.

I would have liked to visit the Castle and Holyrood, next time.

By the way, I will not never understand why so many “branches” of religion….

In general, I am glad I visited Scotland.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Tonight I finished reading this book. I had some expectations. I though it was going to be similar to other book I read about forests. But this one goes deeper. It is history of human culture, in this case North America Indian Natives, and the bonding with Mother Earth, with Skywoman. The dark past, trying to remove their identity, the struggle to recover that connection to your roots and to Mother Earth.

I really understood the real Thanksgiving. I always thought it just was a new way to sell more. But the reality, it is our appreciation to the gifts we receive by Nature: air, water, food, shelter, etc. Everything. It is a recognition of equals. It is a dependency. Nature is not it. We are the same entity, we are alive. We need to look after ourselves. And we need to show gratitude. And gratitude is more and more a very important word. I started to understand it with meditation, and I realize that is more important that I initially thought.

And this is a further example of how much disconnected we are from Mother Nature. I have read in other books of psycology about depression that the disconnection we find in our current society is partly our lost link with our natural surroundings.

We can learn so much from Nature if we make the effort. I liked a lot the example of the Three Sisters: corn, bean and squash. How these different plants work together.

And the constant fight against Windigo, the greed, our dark side.

There is hope to get better. But we need a big wake up call to do really something. I doubt the current cut-throat capitalism, religions will really help.

At least, keep the covenant of reciprocity that is at our reach. But I wonder, I am really doing something about it?

Almond Croissant

I learned most of my baking from these courses. I baked croissants later last year so last week I decided to give it another go. I was quite happy with the result. I realised that it was easier than donuts. So I enjoyed croissants the whole week. But yesterday, still had some leftovers so I decided to try something that was in my to-do list: almond croissant. The main steps are the filling called frangipane and soaking the croissants in a syrup. But checking this video, I decided to use a typical Portuguese almond liquor, amarguinha.


  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar (you can use less)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 20g plain flour
  • zest of 1/2 lemon


  • 100ml (aprox for 5 croissants) of almond liquor or sugar syrup.


  • sliced almonds
  • sugar powder


  • Slice your croissant horizontally. Soak the inside parts in the almond liquor. Just a bit and this is alcoholic and you dont want a strong liquor flavour. The goal is the almond touch.
  • Join the croissants again and put them in a tray with baking paper.
  • Prepare the frangipane. Cream the butter and sugar. I do it manually.
  • Then add the eggs, bit a bit, and keep mixing.
  • Then add the almond flour and plain flour, and keep mixing.
  • Finally add the lemon zest.
  • With a kitchen spatula, take the croissant and add a good frangipane layer in the middle.
  • Once you have all croissants filled, spread more frangipane in the top of the croissants.
  • In a bowl, add the sliced almonds, then take the croissants and press the top into the bowl of almonds. The almonds should stick into the frangipane.
  • In a pre-heat oven at 210C, bake the croissant for 15 minutes or the almond get golden.
  • Once ready, taken out of the oven and spread some sugar power. Wait a bit to cool down and enjoy!!!


I finished Asimov’s Foundation yesterday and I really enjoyed it. I had zero expectations, I knew it was something about sci-fi but that’s all. I have heard from Asimov before but never had the change or interest to read anything from him as sci-fi wasn’t one of my favourite topics in the last years. But I am glad I did. To be honest, I didnt have the feeling that it was sci-fi. It seemed to me that all the issues plotted in the book (that was written in the 40s) belonged our current time. It is a small book and hook you quickly. I am planning to read the rest of the books and see how it goes.

Another thing it impressed me was the amount of books (nearly 500) he wrote in his life based in the intro and wikipedia. He was really focus in his craft!