Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Astronomy Special Edition Post

Yesterday, the International Space Station (that turned 15 years last year) could be seen passing in front of the moon, were you youself at a special place in Scandinavia (and were you not, the video above reveals this spectacular show that lasts for about one second). Nor is that all: until the 15th of January, everybody is welcome to gvive suggestions on what to name one of Mercurius' craters. Here are previously given names, and here are the rules for the nomeclature. And who may enter? "Competition is open to all Earth citizens", the webpage says. 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

My 2014 dictionary

Each year, I learn [to use] a set of new words. Here are a few.

Saltbox house.

Oxford shirt, the same as a dress shirt but probably with a collar of a different colour (white).

"Wallah". Translated best as 'I swear on God', used super frequently when my younger students wanted to assure each other that something is true - that something is on sale, a health condition, anything one wants to underline as credible. I tried to use it too, quite successfully. Another like ten versions spelled "walla" can be used...quite differently.

Dichotomy. Such a good word, it can be used in so many different contexts.

And here is the previous year's list

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Here we go. Christmas celebration no. 1 (and some scary stuff)

V. went to Saltsjö-Boo to surprise a family dressed like Santa Claus and I volunteered as Santa's little helper - to the children's content. It must have looked very funny with two people in Santa clothes when we sat in the car :) We handed out about twenty gifts and then went back to our own Christmas celebration - it took us two hours and ten minutes to open all the presents... 

On a more serious note, my company at the dinner table told me about a very moving lecture about genital mutilation she had been to recently. 3 million women are exposed to this yearly, and those mothers and families who refuse to do so to their daughters in certain societies are often begged by the same daughters to let them - otherwise the daughters are excluded by the society. Genital mutilation cause chronical pain for life and is often surprisingly ill performed. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry cards

Some of them right now on their way to different countries! Now, I shall hasten to arrange for the last touches on some of the Christmas gifts I have planned for...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

How can I be so lucky with restaurants?

I am to meet up E. in four hours at Liljeholmen for dinner. How hard can it be to find options about where one should eat? If you only KNEW.
Rhinofood. Modern dinner alright, a skeleton wering a sock and a shoe on different feet, still craving for a burger. This was after I found the restaurant called Screaming Chef, which according to the reviews really is a place where it can get as screamy as in a school cantine. And Lucky Wok, how often are your woks unlucky?..

Friday, 19 December 2014

Dear Diary.

Today was unexpected: I got fairtrade gifts at a dinner held at a pink miniature castle in Uppsala when I was expecting a very common beer-and-pizza party. I could participate unannounced by pure luck, but still had the chance to wish for a special seat. "Place me next to someone smart and beautiful", I pleaded, and got to sit between two men of which one decided to be beautiful and the other took on the smart role. He also happened to be the director of the institution.

I could not stay for long though, as I promised to celebrate a friend's birthday the same evening. I caught a bus after wandering the labyrint of bus stops - and there I ran into J! We had not met for ages and she a) lived in the area where I was going, so she could guide me [to another bus stop] b) works at the fair trade shop from where I had gotten the gifts.

And then I got to my friend's place! We watched a movie without dialogue - I was wondering if those existed - but beautiful photo shootings spoke for themselves.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Up in the square sky among square clouds

(When David and I met up to take photos at this spot, we both discovered that the name of the station was not the same anymore since two months back!) This is one of my beloved tops and the pants are just magic. My latest achievement clothes-wise is that not do only sales people in stores say things like "this is SO nice, I also plan to get the same for me" but today a little girl, perhaps aged eight, shyly walked up to me to ask where my glittery top is from.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

the party vapours of de-alcoholised wine

I love the pomegranate red colour. Personally, I enjoy cold glögg even more, but I also like standing next to a boiling, beautifully coloured pot with nice company. I attended not less than three glögg parties this weekend, each miles apart to its content (except for the obvious beverage). At the first party, on Friday, we beheaded man-shaped bread and I proposed to a guy while holding his hand that we could be friends on Facebook. On the second day, we played a game about celebrities which is simple to its content but seems tricky when explained the first time - Olle even quickly wrote a computer program that would simplify the process! On the third day, we basically put the last touch on Christmas gifts plans, as I found so many good things this year that I have to decide what not to give.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unexpected wafers

Our trainer is going on vacation and had made wafers for all of the participants before Christmas, which she had packed in nice transparent cellophane bags. On top, there were chrocheted beige stars that she had chrocheted herself "so that we will not forget the gift in a long time". 
Has it ever happened to you that you got pastry after a session with exercises? :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The General Wish/Inspiration list.

Flummoxed about what to wrap in gift paper? Here are some suggestions and inspiration.
Did you know that all the maths in the Simpsons is true, and that the script to a large extent is written by mathematicians? Now there is a book about it.
Downtown Abbey fans, then, will probably appreciate finding out that it is called Highclere castle in real life, and that one of the Carnarvon family members discovered the Tutankhamun grave in 1922.
Massage candles look very scary but are so cool. What you do is lit a candle, wait till it gets warm and then pour the liquid content on your skin and gently rub it in.
Better than a Swiss army knife: the androgyne hair clip multi tool.
A print in black and white for the coffee lover. Fits very well into most offices.
Witty t-shirts are always nice.
For trendy or crammed reasons, there is the upside-down flower pot. Cool stuff's website in particular always has stuff you did not know that you needed and that actually can be useful. The reviews let us know that the pot is not enitirely perfect though, so you might need an additional grid and a hanger. Also, hang it somewhere where you will not be touching it more than necessary and choose the bigger size over the smaller one.
Clocks are perhaps even more handy, hehe. The bigger one can be found here and the smaller one obviously comes in different shapes and sizes and tends to be sold out, so look for "Salvador Dali + watch" online.

And last but not the least: gifts that save lives. Unicef has a wide range giftshop with vaccinations against the measles or a water pump, while for example Actionaid helps you to purchase a goat.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Secret Santa.

I am someone's secret santa at work, and somebody is mine. This week, my secret santa announced its prescence with a chocolate candy and real spruce sprays, to which I reacted by making discrete screams of happiness. The entire office turned around and asked what was the matter with a smile (everybody probably knew). Some are taking the santa responsibility further and have created new mailaccounts with made-up names, which they use to send nice e-mails.
Next week, we are supposed to reveal our identities, so if my object of kindness reads my blog by any chance, here is a very obviuos clue: it is me who got you the cow and the jasmine candle :)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Thursday full of surprises.

Since I answered "YES" when Louise asked "Do you like surprises?", we met up at K25 (a nice trendy food place) two Thursdays ago and started zigzag the city as part of the surprise program that she had come up with. I never knew where were were going, or what time anything started exactly. Louise just went, "We have to go to be there on time!"
In this secret way, we managed to see a short movie at Zita, almost went to a concert, hung out with Mikaela and mini cupcakes and then went to see...

Now, I have some time to return the favour, but it requires some planning as it has to be for free, involve zero complications and include completely different activities. Hmm. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

More of the city of love.

Last time I was in Paris was about eight years ago. Eight! What I did not have any memory of was how small everything is: the streets (except for the main boulevards), the cars, narrow corridors in apartments etc. And how is the subway constructed?! People witht the slightest handicap will have a hard time not only getting to, but also getting on the train: the step up into it is very high. M.B. explained that right now, politicians prioritate the frequency of the trains in rush hours. Hmppf. They should prioritate other things as well.
National museums are in general for free for students, and parts of the Louvre are seen through glass. When the four of us stepped up next to this window, at that exact same moment a guy started to play the contrabass right behind us. Impactful.

Do you see the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs Élysées? Along this street, there were kilometers (calculated together) of Christmas markets. I had my first french galette and my first churros there, the latter more known as "chichis". If you turn around to look on the other side from this standing point, you will see a Ferris wheel lit up in white. 

The Eiffel tower, then, was dressed up as a psychadelically blingy (but nice) Christmas tree and swept now and then a beam of light over the city as if it were a lighthouse. That light can be seen far out in the suburbs.
Of course.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bye, Paris.

See you tonight, Sweden! 

The second day in Paris.

It was sunny. It was warm, for being December. 
There were many nice monuments, until you though of what they meant. A naked boy riding a fish, for example. I mean, I do not encounter these two together that often.
Louise had prepared me well for the trip with two different guides. We had to skip the pheromone party and went to the Petit Palais instead, which had a tiny but beautiful garden and was almost entirely for free.
Kilometers of Christmas markets were lined up along Champs Elysées.
And did you know that one can look inside the Louvre from different places without entering it? Not just through these pyramides.
<< Bonjour, est-ce que je peux prendre une photo ? >> And they gladly agreed !

Friday, 5 December 2014

Munich and Paris adventures.

This is where the sun was hiding all the time! Looking down at this cloud duvet was like looking down on the Arctic. (Germany is underneath here, or Poland.)
While in Antony, france, Christmas signs showed up disguised as post-its and glimmering display windows.

And I found this funny image about Fukushima ignorance in a physical chemistry book at a university: note the "layer of ignorance" and the "blablabla" layer.