Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy (and big) Halloween!

A few harmless zombies are sitting next to me on the train - perhaps we are going to the same party? :-)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

When does the news stop being news?

The ebola news seems to be fading away, so the danger of a new pandemic is probably over, for now.

I got the picture above from this article, found on an interesting site where Jim Crow laws are being discussed right now, too. As the article points out, there has indeed been too much focus on white-coloured citizens compared to the darker coloured ones, leaving out the reasons to why some of the cultures of the countries that suffered from ebola the most are in trouble.

One of the reasons is tradition. One kisses the dead on the mouth and touches him or her as part of the farewell ceromony. And why was that not the news? "Ebola prevents families from saying good bye" were hardly the headlines; the topics were created to generate horror in the white reader's eye, making the reader want to know, will this affect me? And when the same news could no longer fuel the horror and an urge for knowing what will happen next, new and non-related headlines started replacing the ebola news - even though the helping actions continue and ebola is still a problem.

Media's task is to make people's voices heard as well as creating news. But what about ending news? After being deeply affected by the stories that I read and heard about and watched, how do I follow them up? When media reports about something and no further information is published after that, is it a way of saying that it is from then on me as a citizen to act on it to find out more, and is that media's way of not taking responsibility, or actively giving responsibility away?

I at least want some journalists to continue writing about a subject till it is clear that the issues spoken of are solved and a part of the world is alright again.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The perfect letter-paper for writing about adventures

This small box contains 17 envelopes and 16 cards with land masses made of butterflies and other nice creatures, which Ilo and I split fairly: I got the extra envelope, she got the box.

...Which reminds me about the postcard war - I have to surprise M.B. with that bomb and the painting! It takes so long because I have to make them myself and scrapbooking requires patience, good materials and no the least (!) - excellent glue. What I have now is some gold to make a gold frame of, but how do I make a painted crowd of people look like a crowd of people? And which proportions should the bombs have? To be contemplated.

I should be a fashion guru.

"Excuse me, excuse me" - an unknown lady addresses me on the subway. I look up from my book. "You have wonderful pants." "Thank you." "Where did you get them?" I reveal my secret. "When was this?" "Last summer." "Do you think they are still in stock?" She looks eagerly hopeful.

The exact same conversation takes place three days later, inside a make up store. Instead of making me buy things and inform me about discount offers, one of the staff members walks up to me and eagerly asks where I got my pants - this time, a different pair. "Where did you get them?" I reveal my secret. "When was this?" "This summer." "Do you think they still are in stock?" She, too, looks eagerly hopeful.

What I for sure know is in stock are the pink shoes to the right, as I got them today at Skopunkten in Stockholm. They are warm, comfortable, have a flat sole and are affordable. Good luck hunting/shopping!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Two sisters and a chef

E. and I met up for lunch at Fridhemsplan at a tiny, hot and cozy in a private way restaurant called Två systrar och en kock. It is easy to choose from the menu, as only three dishes are served for lunch (a small desert is included!) and the place closes shortly after lunch time is over. We both opted for the same dish and found ourselves pleased about most of the food, the atmosphere and life in general. And there were strawberries in the water! So do come here. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Dancing with skulls

A friend's acquintance gave her a phone call: he was planning a guided tour in the Old town, Gamla stan, based on his own experiences. We were to meet at the dragon statue when the clock struck five in the afternoon...
...and off we went for two something hours to see closed doors that once encomparted radiant clubs which one could enter through windows or garbage cloaks, where the youngsters spoke with a French accent to sound cool. We as a group were also instructed to interrupt to share our own experiences in the city, and then one of the guides sang beautifully in front of what once was a monastery. Turns out that one of the clubs from the 1950's had its floor just above a graveyard, which was disclosed when there was no turning back from renovation in the eyes of the state and the floors were dug up.
Leaving the 50', 60's and 70's a special place in our hearts, we were taken to a basement from the 19th century.
It was transformed of course and full of items in boxes and in corners and behind curtains.
We got out at a different part of the building, and when we hastened through the narrow lanes for the next planned adventures, we saw several other simultaneously ongoing tours with a ghost theme. The guides were dressed in black capes and top hats and spoke drama with theatrical voices. It would be nice to listen to one of those, too.

Grand afternoon tea

"First flush" is the name of a tea, "SWSII (Something with strawberries in it)" is the name of a drink. Both found at Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. The amusement being a bonus, we were there mainly for the afternoon tea, and I would say it was quite nice. The scones were nearly perfect and the pastry with raspberries made all those parts in TV-shows about cooking when chefs compliment some successful deserts using expressions like "the sour goes perfect with the sweetness" understandable, because it actually was the case. All in all it was a sweet experience, in its double sense.
I also had high hopes for the Winter garden, but it has not been a winter garden since the 1930's; now it is just a big restaurant. And what a coincidence! At the entrance to this not-a-garden-anymore restaurant, I met the same singing team from Wallmans that was entertaining us at the castle.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Bookaholic

The past days have been spent in bookshops, online and in reality. I love it! My criterias are fluctuating, but among the major rules are 1. Good stuff, all the way through. I open the first page and read it, then I open the book somewhere in the middle and read a few passages. Is it in any way witty, clever, wonderful or in any other way magnetically catches my attention, it is probably worth to buy. 2. If anybody claims things like "A novel where every page oozes magic" or something as strong, it has so far always been a statement with little exaggeration, partly because such quotations come with the reviewer's name and the reviewer wants to be right. I don't care if the book has been on New Yorker's top 10 list or if it is "Author X's most brilliant work", as it says very little about the content and the expectations I should have. If the previous book was a failure, then it is easy to highlight that the new issue contains fewer flaws. 3. Wild cards. It is more of a faint scent leading me to pockets and hard covers than an actual rule, but it is clear why: who would not want to turn a book upside down while reading, like Benjamin Stein's Canvas

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"How can I help you?" asks the man with a knife through his head

A vampire was very helpful, too. I hung a blue feather boa around my neck, tried on princess crowns, looked curiously at green monstrous plastic feet available for rent and parked next to the morphsuits. The labels said that you can drink without taking them off (!), connect your smart phone to the suit so that it looks alive with heartbeats or a rolling eye, all while you glow in the dark. I still have to think about a purchase a second time though, as I am pretty sure I will not use it the next Halloween.

The latest 3


Some journalists ask the celebrities they interview to read out loud the three most recent text messages they got. Had I gotten that question now, it would have been perfect timing. To better demonstrate the context, more details are given in the translation than in the actual message.
"Oh my god... *shivering with pain* It sounds so...painful..."
"YayyayayOHMYGOOODyayayayay!" *jumping up and down*
"Jupiter surely takes an entire day to make."
It might, yes. More on that later. I even promised the astronomer M. to document and show the result.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Capitalism Detox and Your Judgement Day Guide

What would the second book be called and be about if you got the chance to write a continuing to the course literature you just read?

To start with, it would be a hands-on bestseller. One version would be named "And then they lived suistanably ever after", contain a self-helping guide evaluating your values...aah, such a great seminar!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Frost, I fear thou not


October and brrr brrr freezing, but the flower season is far from over. Like frozen images of green downpurs from balcony rails, these colour sparkling darlings also highlight the miniature gardens that are common in the cities. I heard somewhere that it is possible to plan a garden in such a way that there are flowers all year round, so if I will have one some day, I will try to make that happen!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Staff dinner. The starstruck version.

Three Elvis Presleys at the Uppsala castle and other entertainment elements made it a nice evening for a tenth out of the roughly 6,400 people who work at the university. (I am still confused about what exactly the desert was and how many children one should have (one of the topics discussed at the dinner table)). I had to leave right before the dance started like another Cinderella - this is why I think that occasions like this should START with dancing. Dancing starts so late at times it should have been replaced by a sleeping-over-at-the-party-place activity instead. On my way out then, I left people startruck when it kept coming up who I had been sitting next to. A colleague touched my arm with his finger and went "you are real..."

The blur that svishes by



I was offered a cake but chose to be sent to a conference! This is what exercise does to you.

This week has been a lot about traveling. Hours spent on trains of various comforts and I did of course not get any beauty sleep. I do, however, love what I see. Dancing leaves give the landscape a dotted pattern and when quickly passed by, it becomes nature's own impressionism. Very beautiful. I disagree with H., who finds that everything outside the train window looks the same.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Wizard in the Kitchen

It is easy. I found a recipe, memorised it, made it look like a grand concert when I was in the kitchen cooking and voilà:
juicy, surprisingly tasty garlic-chili-lamb medallions fryed in a sauce pan because I could not find the frying pan in any of the boxes.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Taxes on Bad Arguments

I just won a debate at the Debate club with my team! We were in shock because we thought we had lost, but then came the judges and applauded our efforts as a team. We had reinforced and explained each other's arguments and met most of the opposing claims, they said. The selected quote of the day was then "...taxes on fat? What is going to happen next - taxes on bad films, on bad novels? Most of all, we are going to need taxes on bad arguments!"

Update: the image is from inside Gustavianum, now a museum in Uppsala where we had a lecture on rethorics that day. Once upon a time it was the main university building.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Four stories from the middle of three lifes: without a start, without an end.

Magnus works as an architect.
"I am designing a house for a couple. They give me pretty much free hands, but right now they are not sure how they want it and are going to sail around the world while they think about it."

Erik is a young doctor. He enjoys life and society and is not afraid to ask or comment. One day, on his way back from lunch, he passes by the US emabassy and makes a comment about how ugly the building is to his friends and they all agree and have a laugh. The next day, he passes the embassy again and the same guard from yesterday in front of the building addresses him.
"Hello, Erik."

Clara is studying to become a publisher.
"Of course there are celebrity publishers. As a publisher, one always looks out for the next bestseller. It is expected of you to have an instinct feel for good works. The crime novels are published only because the publishing houses have to survive." "So the 'Fifty Shades of Grey'-publisher must be rather famous?" "Indeed."

"It was peaceful when the wall got destroyed 25 years ago. You should have been there at the new year's, what a party! I was not sober for a week, but it was worth it."

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Being nice to people

I feel like I just upgraded my household several levels with this ecofriendly towel. I got socks of organic cotton too, but they did not come with a label that says "here is an item that shows extra care for people and environment". Branding aside, it feels like I can make a change and have a bigger impact on how we treat our environment by making a smaller impact on the environment. And in the attempt to threat my indirect surroundings better, is that not being nice to firstly the people that are involved in its production, exposing them to fewer chemicals, and secondly to the ecosystems, giving them a brighter future? 

What your and mine society looks like.

Reading Madeleine Albright's biography, I reacted to that the killings in Rwanda were reported about, but for each level of bureaucracy the reported moved upward, the less detailed the reports became and when the news reached the people in charge of decisions that lead to big changes, they were just anther bunch of dry phrases about people dying.

We need images to visualize and understand better.

Here is then a photographer named Magnus Wennstam. He gives poverty, refugees, children that got their parents murdered a face - and with each photo comes a story.

Take a look. It is worth your time. Here and here.

Friday, 10 October 2014

So. When are you going to die?

From time to time, they pop up: articles about Försäkringskassan - the Swedish Social Security Agency - that ask people when exactly they are going to decease. 

If you have cancer or anything else with a lethal outcome, what date does your doctor say you will pass away? 

How stupid, how ruthless. At least the agency can pose the question differently. Till then, one can just put a cross on it and write: "How long am I going to live" and send it back.
 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A fruitful garden



Gigantic Stockholm fruit, how come I had missed that?! Available at Liljeholmen anyhow.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Sweet consolation

"Fucking shitty weather", one staff member thought and got us pastry. Me, I love rain. Foremost when I am indoors and the rain outdoors, which does not always coincide. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

I missed it the first time

If I say Amal Alamuddin, fewer people will recognize her name than if I say George Clooney's name. Yet, I did not react to the splendid headlines revolving around their recent marriage;
Perhaps I just found it normal, hard to say. It was anyhow nice, better than brilliant, that other professions but show business get highly acclaimed. I mean, no paparazzis stalk any year's Nobel prize winners as they stalk actors. Few gossip magazines have front stories concerning a prominent UN co-worker on the beach. And so on. (Vogue did an interview with physicist Lisa Randall some years ago, but many were those who gnarled about that the focus was too much on beauty and such.)

But! Today I found another article (which I can not find again), and this time I saw the feminism in it: an ordinary family photo, but the father holds the new born and not the mother. Does SO much good to the soul.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Kicking kids, jumping on certain flowers

Philosophy can be rather provocative. Our lecturer kicks the table and asks: what if that had been an offspring? Why do we put certain values in and connect them to certain things, but not other things and questions?

Often, all questions asked boil down to that we all, with few exceptions, want to feel happiness (the abscence of pain), freedom (some think that a destined fate with no choosing abilities is freedom) and that we ourselves want to live and also let other beings having the right to a life (murders of various kinds and meat factories left for a different discussion). We do not act in line with those thoughts all the time, though. We do not even always have to possibility to act in line with providing ourselves or the people closest to us freedom, happiness and actual life. And though we might agree on that the above said is true, opinions from then on diverge. Some might find it useless to continue talking about and motivate and understand some of their values or values of others (like the states' values, when certain laws are created). They might even want to motivate why they not care about philosophy - but that, my friends, is philosophy too.

Weekend wisdom



For three days  straight, I have been doing moving out activities. Like, watching Louise and C. having a pillow fight with sitting pads on the balcony (very clever and very dusty). As of yesterday, I was painting walls in the middle of the night, a night so quiet with no cars around that I heard autumn leaves fall to the groud - and here somewhere I got the impression that the walls were moving. It should have been an incitament to stop painting, but I kept going and managed saving six liters of paint unintentionally. Good advice is to be prepared that the painting process takes more time than estimated. Some paint dries for 12 hours before it has to be painted again. On the other hand, it feels like nothing if you are having fun.

The new place is so cozy, even with cardboard boxes piled on each other everywhere. But they are piled here, not anywhere else! We made it! Despite numb and aching body parts.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Romantics in the woods

Back doors of this van-like attachement opened its mouth among still green branches and swallowed my belongings. The branches were so many, that it was like watching friends disappear into wonderland with the boxes! Unsuccessful parking has its advantages.