Saturday, 31 August 2013

Fluffy patterns

I styled this cuddly cardigan by having a black pattern up and a white pattern down, contrasting each other. The outcome is perhaps not what I would have inroduced at a fashion week, or maybe I should - to break a few symmetry rules.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The Knife: Reflections

The Swedish electropop duo The Knife has a music style which is defined as experimental, dark ambient and indietronica-ish on Wikipedia and have not had so many reviews online, so I would like to share my impressions from the duo's last concert during its spring tour in Sweden.

It is dark. Even the stage was, for a rather long time, before the lightbeam explosions kicked off from time to time. I accompanied a friend who is a big fan, while I myself did not even search for them online (but was advised by other music enthusiasts that used to love The Knife to not go); nor did I ask her what the group sounded like - so after the first minutes, when my untrained ear still was missing elements of music and just heard fragments of sounds from instruments I believe were constructed for the show, I heard somebody behind me curiously asking his friend: "Are they...special?"

As you will see below, it is not proper dance conformations one can expect. My friend claimed that the show was made exactly as the duo wanted it to be, while I was inclined to believe that the music was the guideline for the rather spasmic improvisation. The audience did enjoy this, even though it was hard to follow a beat or anything else - I could not even hear the singing properly because it was outruled by the noisy music.

During one of the tunes, the duo and the dancers would just be standing in the corner, or not be present at all. I did identify some Bollywood fragments a few times but interpreted the whistle-sounding neo-coloured sticks (which can be seen below) as childish, perhaps because they were popular among children when I was a child myself.
This was cool: some kind of TV, or rather a framed painting with a singing singer's face in it, was at one point placed at the middle of the stage.
The whistling sticks that I disapprove of.
This was indeed special. In fact, I am convinced that having survived this, I can survive any concert. But was it bad? No, I do not think so. I just think it could have been better made.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bridge View

Not far away from Bromma airport.

Museum Mission: Ulriksdals slott

"Take as many photos as you wish", one of the guides told me, "outdoors."
So here goes: Ulriksdals slott/Ulriksdal castle and its "botanic garden" - it is rather an exhibition of sculptures - next to it, from almost all angles. Not from the seaside, though.

This castle is still used from time to time by the current Swedish king and his family but has also served as a hospital in the beginning of the 19th century. It was built by the noble man Jakob de la Gardie between 1638-1645 and was originally called Jacobsdals slott. The castle and the surroudning have gone through many changes since, and very few interior as well as exterior details are to be found from earlier than two hundred years ago. Today, the right part of the castle is an office for WWF, on the initiative of the king.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Breakfast Design

We are so used to them - but some of the food packages are just beautifully made. We tend to throw them away (hrm, recycle) and they are massproduced - so we rarely take notice - except for in this case, perhaps.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Turning 30 rocks

Bromance and saws. And other stuff.
This was a good party: I got to hold andesite/dellenit which exists at only one place in the world according to the owner of the piece I got to hold, but is a little less rare according to wikipedia. He also gave me a piece of rock which is said to be the remnants of a meteorite :)

Monday, 26 August 2013

Museum Mission: Nobelmuseet

It is rather simple: Alfred Nobel invented the dynamite, became a millionaire and basically wrote in his will  that the money his dynamite fortune continued bringing in should be used to hand out prices to the people behind the most prominent contributions in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry and litterature each year. His friend and peace activist Bertha von Suttner who herself rebelled against her aristocratic background also convinced him to introduce a peace award.
With a maximum of three receivers within each field each year, there are quite a few laureates that swing by from above. Very few people have refused the prize - French philosopher and authour Jean-Paul Sartre being one of them. He later contacted the academy to just ask for the money, without success.
          While the museum depicts some scientific facts too, like the three-dimensional enlarged structure of a chemical compound below, its main exhibition right now focuses on peace.
A Christian bride and a Muslim groom walking through the bombed ruins of Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.
This photograph of the Vietnam war, taken in 1972, is probably recognized by many. The naked girl in the middle is nine years old Kim Phuc, running away in agony from her village that was sprayed with napalm. The photographer Nick Ut took her to a hospital, where she had many operations. Today, she is a mother of two and has become a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

This is so Sad, or How different Societies Respond to Mining

Blood/conflict diamonds you surely have heard of. The new things in our society are, among other, the blood phones.

I read two articles recently that at a glance have little in common. One is about the invisible war raging in Democratic Republic of Kongo, often called Kongo-Kinhasa, which - though being the most lethal in the world - few journalists take interest in since there is no clear right and wrong side also known as stealth conflicts (and even students studying peace and conflicts erronously think the most lethal conflict is Israel-Palestina, studies show).Women and children, no matter their age, are being sexually abused in ways that go beyond most people's imagination and makes the surgeon treating them to cry out loud, which is terrible from two major angles: the angle of the men that do this as a war action and from the angle of the women: in their society, shame is brought upon the victim and they have nowhere to go when raped, since their husbands and families push them away - and abortion is forbidden and punished with five years in prison, even if the abortion was made to save the mother's life.

One of the few places that accept abused women (also referred to as survivours of sexual violence, SSV) is the Panzi hospital where doctor Denis Mukwege has fighting so hard to improve the situation that he was nominated for Nobel's peace prize in 2009, which he refused, claiming it does not do any good to improve the situation (I diasgree with him on that point - I believe he could have used the nomination to draw more attention to the conflict). This war action is about making people to leave their land, he says, because the land where they have their homes is rich of minerals such as coltan that is used in many electronic device. There is no responsible government to speak of and even though peacekeeping soldiers from UN are present - as part of the super expensive MONUSCO project - inhabitants have reported the soldiers to be passive enough to let the rapes happen right in front of them.

The other article depicts the development of a harvest camp in the forests of Madison, Wisconsin.

The iron-ore mining company Gogebic Taconite wants to dig a rather small pit which would end at the Ojibwe/Chippewa encampment, also known as Penokees camp - and tribal members have launched a harvest camp to turn public opinion against the mine, reports. A camp of this kind that involves the public makes it a possible legal case in which the tribe could stop the prospected mine altogether. Politicians, businessmen and people with experiences from the camp all have an opinion. One senator calles the encampment "an outdoor education lab", another refers to it as a "squatter's village".

This area became a matter of conflict as late (or as early as) in 1974,  when two men were accused for spearing fish illegally - which of course is in big contrast with prospecting a mine in 2013. What the conflict is about, one voice in the article says, is that it raises the serious legal rights that Native American people have that mining supporters want to pretend do not exist.

And that is what ties the situations and the articles together: the land, and the rights. The approaches are different - in one country, a company and known politicians are pushing the prospecting of the land further; in another, it is not as clear exactly who is doing what but the prospecting of the land is the goal and the means are much more violent. Also, in the African case, nobody is "hiding" behind treaties as in the North American case - rather, social structures are taken advantage of.

And, generalizing a bit, we are part of these conflicts, and not only these. We fuel them as we use and buy the products that the minerals from the mines for personal and professional uses. Blood phones, right? And wireless device.

What we can do: get a fairphone.

Take active interest in what is happening outside of your community - and in it. Do you know what your region is producing? Who is doing that? Who gets to use the products, who is in the supply chain for the raw materials? Is there a country you have not heard much about? Ok - would you go on vacation there? No? Exactly why not? When would you find it safe to go on vacation there - what change do you want to see before it will be safe for a honeymoon?

Then fight for it, the ways you can.

It is about the Holes

My secret for fresh feet during the summer is to wear as little of a shoe as possible, yet to have support for the feet. It is is with shoes as with the saying about (some) cheese: the more holes, the better. The top golden shoe has a lasercut pattern which is nice, but the holes are so many and the pattern unbalanced so that you will end up getting the non-desirable kinds of holes in them very soon - watch out for that. 

Friday, 23 August 2013


At the small Gallery Korn in Stockholm, the duo Live and Julia put up an abstract play, "aWAKE aSLEEP", based on one of the texts by the Norwegian playwright and author Jon Fosse. Throughout the whole play, all visitors were free to come and go as they pleased - so now and then, when not philosophizing about the deeper meaning behind what is obvious to the eye and the ear, there was also time to talk and interact with the actors when they were themselves. I was offered a delicious cake, for example. Lovely evening!

One hour TV, two bottles

As all Swedes know, most soft drink cans and bottles can be recycled in stores in the exchange for money, but fewer know how much energy that actually saves. With 90% of the one billion cans produced annually returned, it is quite a lot. Some of the numbers above made me consider to climate compensate for myself, which means that in order to go to the cinema, I would have to recycle 143 bottles ("and for that you will have to drink all that soda", M.C. pointed out). In order to drive 170 kilometers in a medium-sized car, I would have to recycle 631 cans. Six recycled cans "give me the right to" use the computer for 24 hours, and the energy of 493 recycled cans is needed to make one pair of shoes.

Quite amazing when you think about energy you consume and return in terms of fuel or electricity.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Postcard War - Freestyle

Some of you may remember the previosly described postcard war. It is still going on, and I am winning of course. Meanwhile, my friend I. send me the card above with the motivation that I would appreciate his posture.
She also sent me this, for geographical reasons
She would make a rememberable teacher.

Details and Hair Question

One of my favourite belts, a discrete ring, glasses that makes everybody look if not cool then scary and perhaps the biggest issue of them all: what to do with a long hair. I usually twin it into a bun (the picture shows an exception) but have to redo the bun multiple times a day since my hair is heavy and Earth has gravitation. I was thinking of making it curly like this, which according to a blog only requires wet hair and gel-covered fingers, which would take...time. This could be a bold move at the hairdresser's, but what will I do in winter, get an oversize cap? I would be happy for any suggestions about how to style a long hair in a fancy and comfortable way.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

At the Central Station

He also carried an almost fluorescent vest in the beginning of the summer commonly used by industrial people - and ear plugs.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Museum Mission: Konstakademien...but actually Nationalmuseum

Nationalmuseum/The National museum is being restaurated, so it temporarily resides at Konstakademien with only a small part of the entire collection displayed at the moment: "Carl Larsson - Friends & Enemies", which covers the Swedish art scene between 1870 and 1920. Konstakademien's full name is actually Kungliga Akademien för de fria konsterna/Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and hosts cultural get-togethers on Sundays that could be fun to join.

Carl Larsson (1853-1919), an internationally famous painter with a dark childhood, considered himself as a historical painter at the end of the 1870's, but did also landscape paintings and portraits of his famous friends (of which some later became his enemies).
Oscar Levertin was a poet, critic and scientist that Carl Larsson admired. The daffodils are a wink to poetry, as their Latin name is Narcissus poëticus. This is a person we will never get to know personally, but the setting reflects "the romatic style of  Lervertin's poems and his personality".
"Gubben och nyplanteringen"/"The Old Man and the Nursery Garden" was a bold buy for the National museum's part, since in 1883 it still preferred acquiring art rooted in the academic tradition. This was the year when Carl Larsson also got his breakthrough at the Paris Salon.
This is a study for the painting "Ute blåser sommarvind"/"Outdoors the Summer Wind is Blowing" (my translation).
Carl Larsson portraits himself like this in 1909. This is the watercolour style I am used to and can recognize almost everywhere. The title "Blomstervännen"/"The Flower Lover" comes from him holding a flower in his hand, which alludes to him saying that he becomes calm, steady and happy when he wanders among flowers summertime - and among the stars in the winter.
Konstnärsförbundet/The Artist's union, where Carl Larsson was a member for a few years, was formed in 1886 and provided exhibitions and a school for artists as its members wanted to be independent from Konstakademien. A picture like this is very pedagogic - one finally can distinguish the gentlemen from each other.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Best of Facebook

 "Hillary Clinton wrote to NASA as a child inquiring how to become an astronaut. NASA replied that girls could not be astronauts, so she became Secretary of State."
Peer review is SO GOOD. I have talked to professors that claim the other does not know what he is doing though, so distinguish competence and competition - but do also respect that the other guy might do research you simply not fancy.
I have a potential to make this puzzle better next time, but though not perfect, I still wanted to share it.