Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The potential with renovated elevators

EXCELLENT background for taking photos! Have you ever experienced an elevator all clothed in plywood? It's different, I can tell you that, and absolutely delightful. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Activating the latent language capacity, before

We actively use about 60,000 words and a Cambridge scholar 80,000, a Cambridge study showed, someone said.

My (not very immediate) reaction to this was to start listing all the words I know on a computer. This was incredibly boring, time consuming and didn't prove anything. (In hindsight: I could just have started with an e-book, sorted the words in alphabetical order and remove the ones I don't know the meaning of.)

So I have now decided to extend my active vocabulary. Write down some expressions I like, "cool" (in my opinion) words and words that are synonyms to those I use frequently and... USE THESE INSTEAD. I give myself a week to create a list (which I this instant don't know how long it will be), and then I will carry it with me for support when I am about to speak.

I'll let you know next week how it goes!

Image source.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Gifts I have received recently

Lemon-scented soap! Smaller than a box of matches. Also, not in the photo: a cute cylindrical box and a bowl-shaped candlestick.
POPPY SEEDS. With the cutest hand-written instruction inside and tiny black seeds I can't wait to plant right away.
Not only was the note very sweet, but M. had really thought the gift through and my own surname appeared inside, the first text in sight ♡

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

60 text messages a day

When I signed up for a subscription in 2012 which gave me a Samsung for free somehow, the salesman and I laughed about the amount of text messages I could send per month for free: 3,000. He then told me some true anecdote about a school girl, maybe his friend's daughter, who would send 60 text messages a day. We both concluded that it is a lot, almost impossible to reach.

Is it?

Since then, we have been whatsapping and snapchatting and for sure changed our way of using words in a quick communication. A text message to me, back then, would mean at least a developed thought that was some 160 characters long or more. Sending an "ok" alone was out of this world. Too short and uninformative, really. If I count all "ok:s" and corrections of *pelling mistakes today? I sent almost 70 messages. If I follow this pattern, I can reach some 2,100 messages per month. Then add emails, photos and actual physical letters :) That's a lot! And makes it difficult signing out or being intravert.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Marriage challenging traditions and making a friend beat some sort of a wedding record

Jonatan and Sandra are so sweet together they make people die of diabetes when they walk the streets (their own words).

Jonatan is engaged to Sandra, but she is not engaged to him. They didn't want just one of them being the active partner, leaving the other passive, so both have to propose. She has to do it before October (this discussion took place in 2016 - last year, that is).

Why before October?

Jonatan is a game community member. The year before this (in 2015, counting correctly) the yearly meetup was in a castle in Scotland, and one of his friends, G., was forced to be the witness and best man at a friend's wedding. They had not really spoken since high school, so he felt surprised to be kidnapped in this way and sad to miss out the gaming gettogether.

Next time the game community's members meet is in Stockholm. In October. Sandra and Jonatan are going to steal G. to be a witness at their burgess wedding. The idea is that this shall become a thing, making the friend to participate at a wedding each time.

A year passed since.

Jonatan and Sandra are now married.

G., as far as I know,  was not there; nobody was invited, but the plan is to have a big party some time later.

Maybe G. was forced to eye witness some other wedding. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The student diet...

...is liquid. This is coffee that covered up for five hours work (not mine - I live on tea).

Friday, 6 October 2017

Predicting the future: Kazuo Ishiguro

Have I read something by this author? First common question (if one didn't ask: 'Who is it"?). Yes, in fact I have! But only pieces. The ending of "Never let me go" in the basement of a school where thousands of books were stored and phrases from "The buried giant", because I considered buying it as a gift. It seemed to appear on every shelf with books in English in Spain. Maybe the speculations on the Nobel prize is an explanation? 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Art in the corner of Swedenborgsgatan

I was fooled first! But it is not real, and is not very visible unless you take the time to stroll around. Maybe it is the same artist that dressed a tiny part of Mäster Samuelsgatan in denim 2013.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Celebrating literature with a soirée: preparations

Friend of friend, D., is a professor in pedagogics and does a remarkable thing: on April 23, the World Book Day, she invites friends and acquintances over to her home. They then read different excerpts from books they like - in various languages. You don't have to understand it all; you have to listen and hear the tone and the way.

I, too, was invited. A friendly invitation that doesn't actually mean that the host insists on you to come, but it was a seed for ideas and reflections: what would I choose to read? And maybe, I should do this party myself. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Future great books I want to be written (and if you know they exist, please tell!)

All plots in this post are ideas I give for anyone to use. Please, I really want to read these books. And please make them even more interesting and with correct facts only, no matter how thick the book has to be. Do you already know if these books exist? Then I would indeed be happy if you could tell me the titles.

The Right Hand. 
Kings, queens, tribe leaders, presidents - no one escaped advisers, who at times were the actual person in power. Get to know the private and professional sides of confidants affecting the most powerful people in the world: Rasputnikov, and of course not without new faces in modern times.

The Psychologist's psychologist. 
She has been hired by Doris Lessing, given Robbie Williams advice he will never forget, supported David Cameron after Brexit and went by private jet to al-Bassin to discuss his expressionless face and how it affects the image of the country. But who does psychologist Sarah speak to herself on sensitive matters? An intelligent, glittering novel with sea-deep insights in politics in practice, life-long unexpected friendships and maybe not that odd discussions about how it is being a complex modern human of today.

A Programmer's Diary. 
David is not unique: he is an introvert programmer who likes code over talking to a stranger at a party. Few know of his rich inner life. By the way,  did we mention he is an excellent stock trader and bought a castle last week? So did his friends, but nobody mentioned it to anyone, of course.

The Girl in the Castle 
In one room that nobody remembered, Gracie managed to live and witness the lives of royalties in Glennwickshore castle.
(this book for sure exists in various forms, in many languages.)

The story of a Michelin
How much food do the judges from the Michelin crew have to visit per year? How is the staff planning the trips, into least detail or more liberal? What kind of food do these people at home? Do they cook themselves? Find out the dirty secrets of the crew - who likes a cheeseburger late at night, who craves for doughnuts in the morning and who will never look at a wine below 1,000 euros again?

The secret professions
Job titles that few dream of as children, possibly because not even all adults know they exist.

Fairly busy.

Friend and I went crazy about a shelf on gender, power and war correlations. We have a huge amount of reading to do for our essays if we want to do them well, but it's great fun too. Research <3

Monday, 2 October 2017

Psychological challenge: a day without saying I, me, mine

I tried for five minutes and that was hard already. Sentences have either to remain incomplete, become very complex in their structure, the message become almost entirely reformulated (after a long thinking pause) or it is better to just remain silent. Which is useful, too. Last time, I made it a challenge not speaking throughout a day, I realised people tend to speak without looking at each other, at least it is very common to start out that way.

So. In academics, a day without saying anything that has to do with me. I am wise choosing a day without a seminar - but with a lecture, to make it semi hard. I will surely have questions and will have to formulate them differently.

That day is today. I will get back to you tonight on how it went!

....so, about nine hours later, I can conclude it was a total failure. First, let's forget I omitted doing this the first three hours awake. I had forgotten myself. Second, it got impossible to handle during the French lunch I have every second week. My French is not bureaucratic enough for non-personal opinions, and today's topic turned out to be about my childhood, which becomes gibberish if I speak of myself as a third person. Third, though I try carefully choosing what to say, keeping track of all the pronouns is overwhelming and even when successful, make conversations very uneven.

I regard this as practice and intend to try again another day :)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Cinderella goes comfortable

Right now, I am of the political-philosophical-fashion view that shoes should simultaneously fulfill the impossible requirements to fit climbing tree activities directly after a visit to the opera. I am heading there, shoelace by shoelace.
Summertime, these are fine for visiting friend, climb a tree and visit a castle. They have a spongy sole! So you take care of your backbone, thank you dear Spanish producer. On the downside, they last one season only.
Friendly sheep, soft and warm, multi-purpose. We have a "gang" around where I live (which is a super safe place - they just don't how how to be cool) that crashes the glass which encapsulates the bus stops, causing the scattered pieces look like eternal ice (I was about to say "frozen ice", which would be more correct as frozen-frozen ice?). So since it's just laying there waiting to be mended, I made art of it. The other guy present at the bus stop nodded and was impressed.
Waiting for friend to come-shoes. I mastered the art of making these uncomfortable pieces walkable by wearing thick socks first. If you want to stretch leather, wear wet socks with your shoes on for sometime, don't wet the entire shoe.
My newest recruitment, winter-but-autumn or autumn-but-not-frost shoes. Leather like this needs care with creams that doesn't dry it out - then they can last for years. They say. Lady in shop showed me her leather sandals that had undergone this cream treatment and they looked solid. So it's like a plant? I will start the treatment today or tomorrow. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

To whom it might concern: Tinder

Friend said: there are three questions that are good markers for where the conversation/date is heading.

I am gladly sharing it with you. Sharing is caring.

Question 1: what is the age range you have on Tinder?

Question 2: what was your worst Tinder date like?

Question 3: are you a feminist?

And the way they are answered matters.

Update: another friend had a much more "jovial" list. It goes like this:
iPhone? Car? McDonald's? Feminism?

I especially like the McDonald's criterion :))

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

What would replace coffee?

I once was responsible for the coffee bread and cookies at work - a tradition passed on to every member of the working team weekly. I baked and bought a cheese and some toppings. We were on the top floor and the coffee machine four floors down, so I did something extra as well - filled big coffee thermoses with coffee so that we could: save time, refill quickly again when it got cold and just feel the extra care.

It was not appreciated. I got one positive comment and of maybe 11 mugs waiting to be filled, about three were used. Not a coffee drinker myself, I had missed what turned out to be an important social part - meeting people during the walk down and the chatting in the queue. The walk surely also served as a small, intentional break.

But coffee has not always been this social key. So a thought arose: what could replace this almost ritual beverage and the path to it? Not counting smoking and drinks at the local pub. Any suggestions? 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Future scenarios: Who will become American Presidents?

...are hard to predict, of course they are. Nonetheless, some universities make their students write motivated diagnosis on the development of some true events - the Department of Crisis and Conflict at Uppsala University, for example.

The case of Mark Zuckerberg becoming the next president candidate is one of the interesting cases that maybe wasn't difficult to predict, but what is more interesting is the cultural heritage that follows. By culture, I mean everything social connected to a person: customs, firm beliefs, the social environment - everything that the person has experience from, everything he or she has experienced and that we know will affect that person's decisions.

And speaking of social. Do you see the conflict of interest in that the candidate in theory has access to private information about roughly one billion people, information that these people have given voluntarily? Not counting the enterprises, but they are important contributors, too. This is not a scenario you want to have. In theory, this opens up for surveillance and unethical rule backwards - because it started well before the candidate was openly interested in a candidature.

This being utterly serious, though not limited by law, brings us to the next thought. What other types of background or connections are not desirable for presidents to have? 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Happy G-forces (four+two, where G equals "glad")

 Seeing this, it's not hard to guess where I was today: Gröna lund :)
 I took a sneaky photo on the way out. I wear a cap because it blows on a merry-go-round on water.
...because it's so beautiful. With shoelaces hanging down from the ceiling, or even better, with tentacles, to lure children into spinning heads and tickly bellies, on the inside. 
 The whole place was VIP+friends only, and the VIPs would know other VIPs and stop to greet from time to time. 
 My favourite attraction of them all is Kvasten, "The Broomstick". Harry Potter, or technically, a witch (I sense a witch theme here given yesterday's post) meets... real physics.
 Then classics like the Jetline I know so well, I told my VIP where to hold on tight before which curve and break in.
But one question. Is it really true? Did people ever laugh at funny mirrors? I find it so hard to believe. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

A witch's hat and other good things about Reimersholme

 Friend and I were deciding: let's do something we haven't done before. Last minute, we agreed walking to Reimersholme, which none of us had visited! Ever. (But I met someone I know.) Named after Anders Reimers who bought a big part of it in the late 1800's, it was the base for the production of vodka for sometime (prisoners from the adjacent island, Långholmen, would do most of the work). Today, there is art scattered everywhere on the island. 
 This runic stone, for example. Which is an egg. We can call it "Modern Viking".
Some bureaucratic confusion. Barrels that once contained cognac were donated as a landmark, you see, but then had to be repaired and it would take time to find someone with the right skill to mend them. Now they are fresh like a rose, but behind them is a sign apologising for the barrels maybe coming up autumn 2016...

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Outfit details - two years ago

This cool pant. Like leather but polar fleece on the inside. Mmm. Also note the sweater. Mmm too. Served well as a winter jacket.
Gold and diamonds in my hair cannot be a fraction of how uncomfortable Nefertiti's golden outfit was.
German colours and friend practicing her (growing) hair skills on me.
With quite a nice result. Which brings us to the next step: what cool should the hairdresser do with my hair next time?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Maybe it's because of me, maybe not at all

Research in economics shows it shouldn't be me, but if I keep asking questions, explain why I boycott products manufactured in P.R.C. and even after the staff underlines it will take time to find out where a product is from I insist on mailing the company anyway, it must stir something. At least I have noted an increase in products made in Portugal, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Lithuania and less from China.

Don't be fooled by the brand being German or Swedish. Look for where it is made. Rörstrand, a famous Swedish traditional porcelain brand, is manufactured in Indonesia these days.

The most fun sales pitch happened yesterday. I had laid eyes on a hot air balloon for decoration, a cute thing that reminds vaguely of Jules Vernes I wanted hanging at my window. The crucial question remained.

"Where is it made?"

"It's an authentic brand..."

(Oh, cool, here it comes, hand made in some Boho Paris premises!)

"...found in China."

Where does the "authentic" come in, exactly? 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Don't cry for me, Colombia - and gold

 Pimped letters I have not shown before! Tend to create envelopes that need extra care in Spain, so I had to pay extra for the 3D statement - as is would be dealt with manually. The fruits are also my work. That's one of my best tricks: get a plain envelope and then stick tasteful stickers everywhere. 
 Black and white could be trendy again. This is meant to be coloured, but I let it be for more drama. 
 I have a gel pen that writes with gold - but it behaves as if it is charcoal: it wears off, layer by layer. I am, on one hand, hoping the addressees will be able to read it all. On the other, I slyly think this is like a version of invisible ink: it will disappear over time. Also note the stamps - painted by Lars Lerin, who is a master with watercolours. 
This postcard is with the coolest stamp I have ever received (the coolest postcard is the one written inside the Vatican, the only country where no new citizens can be born) -
 it is only valid when sent from the UN building. 
As for Colombia. It took six months to send something to Brazil, so I am very curious how fast it will reach another part of South America. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Harvest, oh harvest!

Let's harvest ahead! Five harvest occasions at five very different places. First out:

Harvest party at M's parents.
 In August, M's parents invited to a knytkalas: a party when everyone brings something to share. The hosting family offered brewed exotics and the garden's harvest. 
 For example these peas, which give sprouts easily. 
 M's friend, M, made a successful and innovative mixture of sweet potatoes, lime and greens.
 M's parents built the house themselves!
As family members kept dropping in, we ate, played the infamous kubb and photographed ourselves using this frame hanging from a tree. I launched two new jokes that night, one of them including a fax.
 We also admired the inviting decoration.
And mistook the scarecrow, who of course was outstanding in its field, for a real being.
Harvest festival in Rosendal.
 Flowers as fireworks, the artist is a genious. 
 Classic: guess the weight of the biggest pumpkin! With the twist that the bottom seemed flat. I used the watermelon method: one watermelon is 4 kg and as big as a fourth of this left side, and...
 I had big doubts though. Last time, Ilo and I guessed the weight of a fish in a shop. We said something like 13 kg and it actually was like 5. 
 Almost like 100 years ago, and a hundred years before that.
 Like in a harvest film. This is also a joke about the best item to wear in these circumstances: har-vest.
 We also photographed the photographer who I think was from Japan or South Korea. 
 I swear this dog was a model. Muffy arranged paws and showed me two of her profiles when I told her I would take some photos.
 It is the first time in my life that I now use the following word combinations: cabbage rainforest and cabbage jungle. This looked like both.
 Here they grilled sausages with 500 grams of vegetables inside (per kilo of recipe), like beetroot (the red) and parsley (the green). It wasn't too crowded, just cozy-busy.
 ...But I lost. My competitor ran amidst the hay for 15:48 seconds, me 16 flat.
 It's not dark, I don't know what you are talking about. But tell you what: this outfit is from the party the previous night, where the theme was "white sensation". I streched it a little with a white bracelet. 
Besides me holding the cool bulb tidlösa, you should know that two people stopped me on the street to compliment the glittery top. A lady had spotted me through the shop's windowindow and left the shop just to ask me where I had gotten it :)

The yearly harvest market at Skillebyholm (family tradition). 
The next September day, my brother and I drove here, as did hundreds of people. 
 When this particular market is held at the end of September, it usually marks the first really cold autumn day and then it never gets warmer, not until spring. People were truly worried, but it was sunny and summery and still is.
Inside some of the green houses, a vegan buffé was served. It used to be more impressive, we missed the spring green pie, for example. 
The tables and the seats were all of hay,
and some customers even turned them into beds...
 for some instants.
A stick! "Exactly what I need", many children thought.
 Oh, how the two ladies laughed at me. Have I never spun before? Haha! It was like saying, I have never watched TV before. Everyone spins yarn from the wool they find! Obviously. The good thing she taught me that wool clothes can shrink on your body while you wear it, because of the sweat. News to me!
Mud everywhere, but it didn't rain.
After some humbug water (but humbug with heart),
we had to rush back to Stockholm for academic arrends.

Harvest in Täby park. 
So un-cozy - bad music and no nature elements really - that I took no photos. The potential lies in that an old hippodrome is being revived, but it is still exactly that - resting potential. I dreamt that night about having forgotten the murder mystery experience, but it was in my dream only...

Harvest day at Nynäs castle. 
Lucky me to have found this castle being open the last weekend this season (except for an event on the 24th of September).
We spent about five happy hours here.
This included a walk on a seemingly dangerous path named "Marthas stig" near one river with vibrantly coloured mushrooms. 
I bought garlic. Always want to buy garlic.
We practiced trust in our friendship which was like walking on a guitar string - shaky and risky.
Conrad, 16, has extra feet near his knees. All horses do! How come I didn't know this?!
So do cows, but near the hoof.
 Remember the previous pumpkins?
 They are useful in many ways: decoration, pillows...
 The houses you see, where the largest part of the market was,
 as well as the stone walls around,
all come from the uneven ground in front of the castle where the fountain is now.
 I made myself at home.
 Gorgeous, I know.
This castle is not in Nynäshamn, which I first thought. Quite wide apart, actually. I got some confusing childhood memories sorted too: this is where I was, 20 years ago, and wondered where the large café had gone when I visited Tullgarns slott. They are quite similar and now I know where the "missing café" had gone. The part which aims for the sea looks very much like one another. 
 This day, I also discovered that strawberry flowers can have PINK flowers - and that white currant exists. It is sweeter than the red currant and the black dito.
 And that artichokes could be massive enough to look like they are going to take over the world. 
Come here! I recommend. The prices are lower than in Stockholm, and people to some extent nicer. 
Soon, I also will show you more of the castle from the inside.