Thursday, June 28, 2007

And now about something completely different

I wanted to try the new camera. I had to wait a bit until the batteries charge and I discovered that I just got used to pushing the button without thinking as there's not much more that you can do. Some other day I'll take pics of my other cameras, I actually have two old Pentaxes and I definitly do not plan to throw them away. The digital cameras use either special lenses constructed for them or the usual old lenses gain on focal length, I hear that only some terribly expensive Canon doesn't do this and what's a point in having a 17mm fisheye when it turns practically into 24mm distorted something and I tell you that at normall wide angles the fisheye lens makes terrible mess to perspective and straight lines too (I have a zoom one).
I hate the colour and I definitely will not ever wear plain brown of any sort. But I'm going to make something or myself, it's too good to be given away. Noro Hinegashi,that's the purplish heap, viscose/cotton/linen blend. No clue about that either, it's nice but drapey.. weAnyhow, this week I got some yarn. Camel-lambswool blend that puzzles me becausell, I'll invent something for the store, it's a lovely yarn after all. And a pack of someone else's oddments. The Cotton Hill by Noro is missing on the pic but still, there are two hanks of Daria and one of Kabuki Tamu. I seem to be a collector of vintage and odd Noro yarn. Some cotton-acrylic blend by Novita, what a pity that the woman is selling leftovers and sale findings because it would make a nice wool-free sweater for Sandy, some orange cotton and some fluffy stuff. No use for most of it but they are all just nice. So much yummy fibre to work on...
But, there's one muchmore interesting thing. I dyed most of the Gjestal Lava and Polar (no difference between them as far as I can judge, just that I had one in white and one in coral pink). I wanted to use it for sweaters and for this reason I dyed a few hanks dark blue (the three balls on lower right). I gave them a rinse and they started felting, it was actually a bit hard to untangle the skeins.... so I left the yarn aside until an idea strikes. It did and I decided to make a rug. With a landscape. Will sorta fit in the next etsyFAST challenge whose theme is something about gardens, too. So, I dyed most of the yarn, the brighter dark blue was originally the coral pink one - good job, there are some greens (could be more, though) and one ball in white and brown. Totalling 23 skeins of 100 g and 110 m.
I did a bit of mathing. My estimate was like 6 metres square for the unfelted thing and the result?
At 8mm needles one ball will produce 1650 cm square of knit matter. 23 balls will thus give 37,950cm square of unfelted matter, which is approx. 3,8 m square. I used the golden section for determining the ratio of the sides, resulting in dimensions of 1.4 x 2,32 m which means 140 stitches in 331 rows which gives a total of 46,340 stitches.
Take it as an exact work with not so exact numbers, I adjusted them a little bit (something like 331,428571428571428571428571428571 et cetera ad infinitum stitches is not too practical to work with, unless you're making something related to Sierpiński's carpet and it's not a thing I would recommend.
Now it's only the entertaining stuff to do. Make a sketch with being aware that the area ratio of different colours has to be kept and knit the damn thing.
And, tomorrow a totally new intellectual adventure starts. I got some international loans to the library, one of which is a Finnish dissertation. You don't have to believe me, no-one does, after all, but I don't know the language too well.

Something mildly exciting

The delivery guy brought a nice neat parcel.
Isn't it nice.... and promising. Promising maybe some new, yarny adventure?
But.... check this. It doesn't look really like yarn, after all, who would bother to wrap yarn in all those protective air cushions and paper shreds and those nice boxes with instructions for use. Well... maybe some people need instructions for use like Do not eat this, it might make you sick or this is not an electric appliance, don't poke it in the socket even with obvious things. It's told about Americans in this part of the world. But.... check the label on the smaller box.
Not a gift-wrapped yarn. I finally got the camera. No more stupid soapbox which was last used for taking these pics but a real SLR to which nice real big lenses can be mounted, a decent camera that is made for photography, not for tossing around for the others to see how thin and silvery it is and with a lens that is tagging even in wide-angle shots. (Digression: Some physicist please explain better but basically, the bigger the diameter of the lens, the more light goes in, the sharper the image can be and the better the photograph looks. I got the best ever shots with my poor innocent 28mm shift lens where the filter diameter is 77 mm, the basic lenses have 58mm filters... so those compact things are not cameras to me, they are soapboxes which accidentaly can take pictures, too.) And, you can hold the camera by the strap and with some nice heavy lens, you can use it as an attack weapon which comes incredibly handy when you take pics of some nice plants in the wild and a bear decides to eat you. Or when you encounter some less socially adapted citizens who would like to share your camera and credit cards - I would take the liberty to do this with the almost 800g shift lens, it's a steel thing that should last, after all.
Speaking of the poor innocent shift lens, I managed to get through the lines to the police officer responsible for the case of my robbery and he told me that he's closing he case and that he would call me next Monday to fix an appointment for coming and taking my shift lens and my necklace back (You damn bastards, you still owe me the other Pentax, my PDA, my comp, my thesis, my cosmetics and Christmas gifts. Plague and warts upon you.) - it only could have happened a few weeks earlier, the architecture pictures from The Netherlands would look much better.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Home sweet home

I went home.
The cat was missing, obviously. The flatmate went off for the night as her toothbrush was missing too.
Then I knocked over two bags of rubbish in my room. The stereo was on. I got pretty furious, not that I would mind that much the flatmate using my things but it's at least polite to ask. I however couldn't find any logic explanation for two bags of rubbish in my room. Actually I couldn't find any explanation. Well, I could but I rather didn't want to.
Then I ventured into the kitchen and noticed the wooden bowl I use for yarn on the drying rack. It was soaked wet and obviously the paint was falling off. It was getting a bit too much. I'mnot a nice person and I'm not keeping it as a secret, I'm a badly cured choleric and I have a certain opinion on humanity which is not too flattering... so I started to be a bit irritated. I planned to go to bed but eventually I wouldn't sleep so I hung online until like half past five when I decided that I needed to sleep anyway. When I started dozing off, flatmate's alarm clock started making wild sounds for six. As she was away, I went to turn the thing off. The window in her room was open - how nice from her, the only thing missing was an invitation to some nice robber guy to come and pick whatever they like. I told her the first day she was here that she should please always close the windows before she leaves, that I closed it when I was leaving after her that day but you know, it's ground floor... but maybe I hadn't said that loud enough.
I closed the window and went to sleep. When I got up and started wandering around the place, cleaning a bit, making my coffee and things, I noticed that the watering of plants was performed to such extent that most of them were dead. At this point I was ready to explode but I went to the cat shelter instead. I was actually ready to kick her out, especially when I came home with Tähti, flatmate was gone again but again happily left the window open.
When she finally arrived, I wasn't even ironical, just strict. What is the reason for kitchen rubbish in my room? She just forgot it there. Why the hell is she tossing rubbish around the place? Well, it just happened. The windows? Well, okay, but still, I might be overdoing it. Nothing happened after all, right? Well, someone broke in even with the windows closed. Etc. However, she even didn't protest when I presented her the shelter bill.
Speaking of the cat shelter, when the lady there went to bring Tähti, I could hear wild meowing of many unhappy felines but I couldn't make Tähti's sound out. When she was brought to the reception room in the kitty carrier, she would go only meep instead of her usual howling and she was totally shivering. On the way back she started to complaint in her usual loud manner, after all, it was the stinking carrier but her carrier with the awful blanket but her blanket.

I did the laundry, sorted out things, ventured to Tesco to get toilet tissue and prepared the orders to go. It feels so nice that the etsy store works only a bit but it works.
The huge carton is what Sandy gave me... mostly acrylics - I'll have to invent something because it's thin yarns, I'll probably ply it to something funky. The pink flat balls are mohair with metal thread, would be nice for something like a wedding dress or for dyeing it to something wild, weren't it for the acrylic component. I will see. And the big chunky yarn is from the Leiden store. I somehow stick to greens lately although I hardly ever wear green myself. I think it's just a good colour for creative experiments, many shades and the stuff. The purple and green yarn I dyed myself out of momentary inspiration, the bright green one was made upon request and the rusty cashmere was already sealed in the envelope so it's not there to equal it out for the greens.
Back to work.

The Netherlands, day 7

The cat thing continued. Petra texted me that they want money from her in the shelter and that it's horrendous, how they dare and that she has her ID at parents' so she cannot pick the cat anyway. I guessed that it'll be sort of fun for Tähti, she's an adventurer of a sort and the Siamese are not hard to break and I sort of took it easy. After all, everybody makes mistakes.
The plan for the day was that Martin will go to the symposium to present his project and the rest of us will hang around Leiden, do some shopping and find some entertainment and when Martin is back, then those who want will go to the Botanical Garden. Martin is a botanist, did I say that?
Well, I was just walking around the town there and back,all itchy and mildly bored. I discoverdd the grocery and left it for later and decided to find a bookstore, they are good places to idle around. I was stupid, I suspected that Leiden might be more fun so I didn't take a book or knitting or something with me. However, I discovered a Fair Trade store where I got some chocolates (one just cannot resist organic fair trade chocolate named Divine) and a huge necklace made of carneol and turquoise glass. There was theink capsule attached to it and both the shop assistants couldn't take it off the piece.... after five minutes of struggling with it they started chatting in Dutch with me... well, I nodded and smiled, yeah, it's a damn freaky gadget, this thing, but then I had to admit that I don't know a single word in that language. Then I plundered the grocery for some food for the journey back and went to meet the guys... well, I had like an hour left so I sat on the lawn in the piece of park there, ate something, checked my agenda and added some erratic notes and applied a few more layers of the sunscreen, I didn't want to take risks.
When we assembled, three of us aimed for the Hortus botanicus. Nice place indeed.... they had all the tropical trees in containers outside including the Wollemi pine (I saw one at some plant exhibition with the stylish bars around it so that no-one would steal it. Here in Leiden it was just standing under a palm and we could cuddle it....). It isn't actually a pine, to me it resembles rather some sort of Araucaria... actually good guess, the Wikipedia says so as well.... and while googling for some useful link, I discovered that one can buy it here for just over 300 euros. Could be worse. The strange orchid is dendrobium finisterrae and I just liked it. It still has no article on the Wikipedia so... go for it.
At something like four we were to meet at Albert Heijn, the grocery. I went along with the guys and then, there it was. The yarn store. First I saw in this country and it was beautiful. I was hanging around Leiden for three hours and I missed that street, which was full of artsy boutiques.... so I sent the guys ahead, I had done my food shopping, after all, and went in to drool. I didn't need anything and all the yarns were of the rather expensive sorts. I was just sniffing around, touching the yarns - here it's only one online store that sells Gedifra yarns, for example, and most of them are by special order only. I'm not much of a Gedifra freak, some of their things are way too novelty for me, but it's just nice to see. And see the colour arrangement.
Finally I fished out three Gedifra Carioca balls from the sale basket, still, they were 3.50 each which is a little bit expensive for me, especially when it's a funky yarn I don't need at all, but I felt that I need a souvenir. I already got something like three kilos of yarn from Sandy but anyway. I asked the lady whether I can take a pic and voila: Ribbels, Pieterskerk-Choorsteeg 18, Leiden. Their website doesn't work, though. Hope it's temporary.
Then we just headed home. It was raining all over Germany so we drove and drove and at a certain point we decided that we could make it to Prague sort of after midnight and stay overnight at my place. We got there around three, though so the guys decided to go straight home.

The Netherlands, day 6

While Sandy was taking the kids to school and doing her household stuff, I checked my mail and stuff - and got two sales on etsy. More, people, more! you need my thingies for sure, admit it.
We planned to go and see Boijmans van Beuningen collection, other part of the quest was to find a spf50+ sunscreen, the pan for those little Dutch pancakes and maybe something else of interest.
We found out that Boijmans van Beuningen museum is for free on Wednesdays. Yesterday we were just hanging around so today we had to cough up nine euros each. The Dutch have no student discounts which is not nice from them,for that matter. I knew Boijmans van Beuningen as a good collection of modern art but there was sooo much medieval stuff and so nice! I got the gallery guide so one day I can peel the plastic off.... anyway, I had fun. I love old art. There was even lots of Italian works.
The pan thing is called poffertjepan. Hope I got that right in writing, Dutch is sort of weird. I guess that I could get into it soon, though, if I tried. I did not, really. I will not say that I'm able to learn a language in like three months, someone would for sure say that it's intellectual pride and that pride is a mortal sin and that I'm just a boasting nerd... regardless that it is true. We couldn't find the pan in question in the housewares store... Sandy commented bitterly that the Netherlands are full of whoever but the Dutch and all those people from wherever just don't make the poffertjes. And that they get social support and free courses and she, guilty of being born Dutch, has to cough up for courses... which she doesn't because she cannot afford it and thus she cannot find a decent job and that it's not fair. Welcome to the politically correct world where people from outside the EU can work anywhere in the Union if they have permanent residence in there whereas I, member of the EU state and with a permanent residence there, will have problems in half of the states. It doesn't mean that the immigrants should be all shot but.... Feel free to accuse me if racism and intolerance. I'm not racist and I'm relatively tolerant but not to bureaucracy and their inventions.
Anyhow, we saw the Cube Houses. I have no idea how they are organized inside but they look cool.
I got a spf50+ sunscreen and whenshopping for it, I found the hair dye my mom adores, something by L'Oreal, I guess, that makes two shades. Expensive like hell, brought it from Italy the other day and Mom just adored it.
I like gifts that are used up. Next time I can bring a new chocolate or hair shampoo (my Dad is in the critical age of observing one's hair for fallout - not his case - and graying - he's gray but no-one can see it from more thanhalf a meter distance since he's pretty blonde.... but any hair gloss, hair growth pills or just anything of that sort makes him happy. He believes in nettle extract, too. so when I plundered The Body Shop in Amsterdam, one of the things we don't have here either, I grabbed a bottle of nettle herb shampoo for him...). So, with gifts nicely solved and a few other bags, we returned for Sandy's house, I was cuddling the cats and chatting and stuff and waited for some news from the guys who had to pick me in the late afternoon. The phone rang and I picked it, thinking that it's them.
"National Register of Animals, are you Ms. So-and-so?" I thought it was some database checking or something.
"Yeah, I am but whatever you need, make it quick, I'm in Holland."
"Oops, that's a problem, your cat is in the shelter...."
I kept calm, although I wasn't sure how I managed not to explode. My not so dear flatmate (Juha is Juha....) was to take care of three things: feed Tähti, water plants and not to destroy the house. Well, she might have fed her but she lost her. Killkillkill. I told the Register lady that I'll text her with flatmate's number and that they arrange it with her. I had a message exchange with the flatmate which made me totally enraged - she left the window wide open overnight, the cat disappeared, she looked for her and she's so sad now. How nice. I didn't ask when she planned to tell me, I just told her to pick the cat from the shelter.

The Netherlands, day 5

The guys dropped me in Rotterdam where I was to stay at Sandy's - she was actually quite surprised that I'm coming - I just texted her, not being sure that her cell number works so I told the guys on mIRC to tell her and left a notice on the blog and hoped she'll get the news.. which she did.
After the traditional getting lost somewhere, the guys dropped me at the train station (oddly enough, Sandy lives a few streets away from the Maastunnel where we got lost), Sandy picked me and we spent the day idling nicely. We went to see the neighbourhood windmill (no, I cannot deprive you of a bit of kitsch) and strolled around with Sandy's kids and it was quite a bit of fun of this calm, not really exciting sort of fun.
And, Sandy has two cats, the white one whose name I always forget so I called her Gremlin (looks like that. Persians are cute but when they have too flat noses, they become... gremlins) and Wolfie the Norwegian Forest cat. Black cats are pretty tough to photograph and this was the case too, so... I did my best. Actually, it was Tuesday, I guess, when the DHL delivery guy tried to call and we texted it out, that he has my camera to deliver and that he'll be back on Monday when I am back.... so no more soap box, I'll have a real big Pentax thingie heavy enough to smash a bear (well, if I squeeze the shift lens from the @#$%^ police....).
In the evening we went for a stroll to see the harbour and then came the most exciting moment of the week. I have allergies so I'm full of allergy medication almost per definitionem. I use spf30 sunscreen when I go with the rubbish, not speaking of hanging around in full sun. The Dutch sun isn't that strong either. And I got a sun allergy rash. I never had that. I get a decent tan pretty easily, regarding that I'm a relatively pale blonde. So I was reddish and itchy and pissed off.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Netherlands, day 4

The trip to Amsterdam. The soil is unstable there as demonstrated. The tilt of the red house would be much more evident if I had the shift lens to manage the damn perspective. Sigh.
I spent a week or so there in 2001, I think, when Kristina studied there so I had some clue about what is where. The guys wanted to see the Dam and all the souvenir shops in teh area around the Central Station and at that point I separated. I didn't feel like checking all the shops with wooden clogs and other crap. Nor the red-light district. Nor any other tourist crap.
I found my way to Rijksmuseum which was under reconstruction so if I understood it well, they put all the masterpieces and eye candies to a few rooms and closed the rest of the building - where one could spend ten nice days, for that matter. Well, the Night Watch is okay... but ten euros for all that?
Mom called. That she needs to get some work crap translated to English and if I can go to the internet. No, maybe tomorrow. It wasn't good enough, it was urgent, she said, and I was supposed to go and find some internet place. I told her that I'm in the Rijskmuseum and just paid the entrance fee so what the hell it is. Six lines of something. I told her to tell me by pieces and I'll translate it straight away (I don't want to see the celly bill. Hers even the less). It was something like I hereby declare that I will transport the abovementioned vehicle so-and-so to the buyer so-and-so. I had to dictate to her secretary how to spell abovementioned and hereby.... but the whole thing seemed to work. Why the hell they don't find something like the abovementioned document in some style guide, remains a mystery. I have style guides around, in case I needed to write something about letters of credit or if I wanted to send a postcard to the Queen of England... or just to write a piece of formal something so no problem to find one and copy it.
Anyhow, I wanted to go to Stedelijk which was under reconstruction and the collections were in the railway station's building which was under reconstruction so I was half lazy, half I didn't have that much time, planned to do some shopping... Thinking of it, is there some native? They were digging a huge tunnel across the whole center, metro or what it might be, are there be Olympics, did the city council squeeze a ton of money from the EU or what the hell?
The portico is inscribed Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum or Wise man doesn't pee against the wind. It's a good ecample of post-modern architecture and post-modern sense of humour, as well as the bronze lizards in the lawn across the street from that portico.
I managed to get those coffee mugs with almond tree by Van Gogh printed on it - I brought two of them from my previous stay and just a few weeks ago Dad broke one. I got a new copy of Superdutch, someone stole the first one. Bastards. Then, vaguely aiming somewhere towards the station, I walked along Leidsestraat, sort of windowshopping, plundered a few stores (the massage lotion from The Body Shop is just wonderful and works against cellulite, too. Or maybe it's that the work out after which one needs a massage works against cellulite? It reminds me that I'm fat) .
We went to see some more dunes, then. Still no orchids found.

The Netherlands, day 3

We were hanging around Leiden and didn't find anything exceedingly interesting. Well, maybe guys did but I was annoyed by them, their walking pace was a bit slow so if I wanted to be social and keep with them, it meant knocking over my feet on every step. I'm a simple blonde girl, I either walk or stand. Later on, Martin needed to see some sand dunes where orchids should grow (no, do not imagine some bright purple Vanda of the epiphytic sort - almost bought one on Singel flower market in Amsterdam, by the way, it's terrestrial orchids and I have some pics somewhere in my archives. Most of them are green and boring to an uninterested person). The dunes are probably the only hills in the Netherlands and again, guys' hiking pace was killing me. And I got sunburnt, which is strange since there was nearly no sun. Martin the botanist says that that there are lots of interesting plants... well, I trust him. The dune grass is amophilla arenaria, for that matter, and there were a few early blossoming gentians, I think it is Gentiana cruciata but I still have to check. The picture came out nicely, though, even with the lousy camera of mine. Gentians are one of my most favourite plants.. nice colours, nice looks. Never managed to grow one, though, they probably don't like me back.

The Netherlands, day 2

During our little quest for camping site we passed some sort of medieval ruins that appeared to my trained eye as the walled precint of a monastery. The huge Romanesque portal would quite agree to that. I have no pics yet, my camera played dead although I did charge the batteries. So this stubby post will be completed when I get the pics from the guys.
We arrived to Leyden at like four, spent some time looking for the campsite where we wanted to stay. Since Dutch is not a language anyone of us would master or at least have a clue of, we had a bit of hard time until some nice biking native shoved us a way. We ticked that off and went to find the Science faculty of the local university, where the Flora Malesiana symposium was held and where Martin was going. I went to the registration with him so that he wouldn't be scared and I was offered the funky bag with all the notebooks and stuff too but the registration fee was 200 euros and.. and anyway:P Maybe I looked like a botanist.

The campsite cat

The Netherlands, day 1

Actually it is not The Netherlands yet (Alankomaat, as Minna remarked. Love that word. Finnish always gives new horizons even to such superficial people as yours truly), on Saturday I got home via the library and grocery to get some chocolates for Sandy, lunched with Mom, listened to sermons about the usual Behave yourself.. luckily she doesn't add anything about not catching a new STD although she is afraid of that for sure. If she commented on that, though, I would probably be violent. Bad enough that she thinks I'm a pig (no reason for that, just that I don't polish the backside of the cupboards). I grabbed some useful things and at three guys picked me and we set off west. By the dusk we got somewhere off Meissen, Germany (the east one. Still visible). We had a hard time to find some camping place, the Germans seem to have no clue of the concept of forest and field roads. We managed, though.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Busy week

The main reason was that I was struck by my occasional lousy mood and I felt down and useless. Instead of making myself busy with something worthwhile, I basked in self-pity and cursed life and stuff. Well..... sometimes this existential nausea strikes me and I just need a few days to overcome it.
Basically, on Tuesday we got drunk with Juha (or at least I did, I didn't ask how he felt and he didn't try to walk through the closed door or something so however he felt, it couldn't have been too bad). Wednesday morning I saw him off (I made the compulsory airport picture, he tries to looks mart and serious), I felt down because Juha is just cool and although I already have a new flatmate.... well, I still have mixed feelings about her. Don't know why, maybe she just came in days when I had a tendency to see the worst in anyone and anything. So, with a mild hangover or a nervous stomach or just something I went to the National Gallery to see some pics, then went for an exam on Medieval painting (passed) and then to my ph. d. interview and I was told basically that "Okay, we'll take you but you have to finish your master's in September." I said "Yes, Professor, that's the plan." Then I just went home in the worst mood possible, fell face down on my bed and just slept until Mom called to ask how I feel. (Do you also think that at certain point even your mother deserves to be killed slowly? Mine's art of timing is absolutely perfect in the most evil way.)
I somehow muddled through the existential insecurity of these days, meantime I was teaching Hannu to enjoy classical music and he admitted liking not only Dvorak's Slavonic dances which are actually easy pieces (and we natives know the songs with words from our Grandmas) but I sent him also Il sisto libro dei madrigali by Monteverdi which is pretty difficult stuff and I needed time to learn to like Renaissance music and I am an experienced listener. So far so good. Maybe it's all the trees around that mke one sensitive. Who knows.
Yesterday I met Jana in person. She just got her second engineering degree and she's a living impersonation of Nanny Ogg. "You know, my jaw hurts a bit. I had it dislocated once." "Oops, how did that happen?" "Badly administered oral sex to..... (follows name and hometown of that guy." Actually that was what I really needed to get rid of that nasty mood. "Art, ballet, it's so..... well, at the faculty of nuclear physics it's hard to find someone who has any taste at all."
She was all I needed to cure my nasty feelings about next to anything, me, the world and the relationship between them included.
In the evening I went to see Raymonda to the National Theatre. I half forgot about it and since I was planning to go away for a week, it was sort of rushy. Iva (the long-haired one on the previous picture) (see how fat I am. Awful. And the stupid grin. I need to practice laughing in front of a mirror someday. Hope the mirror will not grin back) had her Ph.D. interviews today and it was even sillier than mine. "Did you talk to your consultant about your dissertation?""Yes""Okay, let's take you,, good bye." So we even went to have a glass of wine after the first part. My glass was gnawed on and I almost cut my lip - perfect alignment:D and then, after a few gulps already, I went to change the glass. I didn't feel like eating most of the day so I was obviously immediately tipsy which didn't prevent me from having fun.
I loved this ballet. The music is by Glazunov and it's full of all sorts of exotic reminiscences and I'll have to get the recording someday. The choreography wasn't the usual mildly boring thing by the local choreographers who usually go that now Janie dances, scene change, now the corps dances, people walk away, Janie and Joey come to the scene for a pas de deux, then they go away, corps again and it looks sort of dry . This was just dynamic, no bleak spaces when nothing happens and there were nice dance jokes, too - as I read in the programme a day later, the choreography was by some Russian guy who originally did it for the Bolshoi in Moscow. That explained it. Russian... lots of everything. The corps, the conservatory guys, fourty people on the scene - why not. More colours, more people, more fun. See the reverences... and there's half of the crowd, I guess.
I missed the dance festival which was going on in the previous weeks, the usual Prague stuff is mildly boring - nothing against the good ole classical ballets but they could use a bit of fresh air too. Well, some other time, some other place, I guess.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

People come, people go...

....and cats stay.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What arrived in today's mail

Well, some yarn. Wonderful white (and slippery, mind you) alpaca and wonderful mohair by Anny Blatt. TThe colour is hard to define, it's something burgundyish with multicolour viscose thread.
And a lot of salmiakki (thanks go to Hannu, Niina, Riikka and Hanna). For those who do not know, it's candies. Something like liquorice with salt and industrial fertilizer and actually I do not remember who first brought the thing to me. Most people choke on it.
The white thing in the lower right is some Sami-style (or what) pendant with a pic that means, as the instructions have it, wisdom. Not sure that it was meant as a gift to me.
The cat just came.
And yes, I know, I should make my bed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The most terrible procrastination

I started this sweater in October. I planned it as a Christmas gift for Beth but somehow it didn't work. I ran out of yarn - or maybe not, there's a heap left over still - it got discontinued so it took me quite a time to find more, there are three batches of the green used so it's striped more than I would call elegant but I guess it's okay.
But..... in the few latest days I made a nice progress and I guess that it needs a few hours (in real time few days...) and it'll be finished.

And cats wouldn´t buy whiskas (for that matter, cats fart terribly when being fed cheap food. Whiskas is quite okay, though, there are worse), cats would buy sweaters.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I have to share a drool.

This is absolutely fabulous.
Actually when I got a pack of Noro Silver Thaw, I was thinking about making a Fair Isle using two yarns dyed in such a way. Evidently I'm not the first one to invent this, though. Now I have other things to knit but I'll keep the idea in my mind and realize it in some totally different way - buttons aren't my thing.
And this made me laugh.

The International Knit in Public Day as celebrated (erm...) in Prague

There was a certain lack of advertising or the other knitters got eaten by something big, green and with lots of teeth on the way.
For those who are not getting the point: This day is dedicated to those who think that knitting is some sort of mental disease of those with nothing better to do, usually elderly ladies, boring Grandmas and the like (hello, Mom!) and we struggle to show that knitting is modern, creative, hip and cool. As we knitters are, for that matter. Young, attractive and smart and with many things to do - of which we picked knitting for today.
The meeting point was at the horse at 1100. I arrived a bit early so I sat on the pedestal with a ball of Noro Airisu and a ball of Unnamed Yet (this is the official name of the colourway. I didn't invent anything smart so the generic name just became the name) and knitted. Some ten minutes later Iva arrived along with her boyfriend, an official photographer of the event (all photographic credits go to him him). So we sat on the stairs and knitted. A few people commented and no-one lelse appeared so we went for a coffee.
The cafe-not-to-be-named (so that the tourists wouldn't know and we wouldn't lose one of the last oases of normality in the Disneyland called also downtown Prague) was half empty and we sat, knitted and chatted, the waiter asked and got the thing explained but still looked puzzled.... For your information, I'm making a silk dress and Iva is making some sort of bag.
And at 13something we decided to move on.
It was one of the funny things that lack any action or excitment, it was plainly nice as most of the life is. We shared some information on dyeing, blogs, ideas and events and now I'm back to lonely knitting.
But... just you wait next year.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I am furious.

And pretty down at the same time.
In November our seminar teacher told us that the university is giving away some money, they announced it yesterday, the grant application deadline is in ten days and that we should apply if we have something coherent on which we are working.
I wrote a piece of crap (the application form was incomprehensible but for name and address fields), the grants office guy returned it with three pages of very sarcastic comments like Every idiot should know what is the difference between result and outcome, using 'if' and 'should that be' is not scientific enough, leave it for chitchats with your girl friends in the cafe etc., three pages. I got furious. Not because I didn't get something. Not even because if it said Write this and that in 100 words, I stuck to the limit and the guy wrote that it was short and since it was short, it told nothing. I just hate when someone is impolite. After all, if there were no ifs and questions, there would be no reason to do any research, that's all the research about.
So I got furious, I rewrote it to even a huger piece of crap, when I didn't know ('When and how are you going to publish the results?'), I plainly lied ('As soon as there is any coherent outcome, I plan to publish the research results in specialized magazines, possibly I will publish a monography.'), I interspersed the thing with lots of strange (understand: Swedish) book titles.... and created a piece of highly polished crap.
The results should have been known in February.
Nothing happened in February so I forgot the whole thing. The money was eaten by the postgrad people, so what.
Yesterday the impolite guy called that I got the gant and why I don't come to do the paperwork.
"What?" I replied intelligently.
"I am from the grant board, you know, and we have the results and you got a grant. Why haven't you come...."
"I got a grant? No idea about it. But yeah, nice."
Today there was some tutorial meeting on how to do the paperwork and stuff and I had no idea for what theme I got the grant and how much. I guessed that I wanted like 40 000 czk and got 5 000 but it was written in the personalized agreement, not in the general info papers. THe tutorial took two hours (What is the difference between a receipt and an invoice. You have to buy the books without VAT. The university will pay the VAT - I would like to know what bookseller would sell me a book without VAT and I guess I know where they would send me if I asked for it.... and so on). Then I got the papers and they gave me all what I applied for. A bucket of money.

Yes, there is a but. This is for students. The day I pass my finals, I'm not entitled to spending a single cent. Meaning that I have to do all the travelling in summer. Meaning that I should go to Italy, find the university people there, ask them for credentials and letters to the libraries. No problem, you think? Once more, slowly.
July in Italy. 40 degrees in shadow.
Summer in Italy. Everybody is at the seaside and there's no living soul at the uni. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Well, it's something like 3000 euros. Half of it is a scholarship so that I don't have to wash toilets in the shopping mall but do the... whatever I will do full time. The other half has to be spent by half of September (well, before my final exam and I have no idea when it is. Like middle of September). I have a good use for the money. Buying myself some more books, shares and yarn. And anyway. So I'll have to do some crazy planning to get the whole thing working and I guess it'll be some strange sort of fun.
At the time being, I'm angry and terribly down at the same time.

And now about something completely different, the first pic is a summer top being knitted in larger size, I somewhat underestimated the gauge. So I'm knitting the larger version directly from the smaller, why to rip it extra.
The beauty resting on the keyboard is Noro Transitions that arrived in today's mail. It's a single skein, that's why I could afford it ($7 instead of the usual 30). I love it.
The last picture is showing a tangledmess. It's Noro Airisu being knit into one-shoulder dress. The blue, green and yellow thingie is a silk, dyed by yours truly. When I was knitting in a cafe today, the waitress almost snatched it from me and since she wasn't the first one who drooled over (e. g. Jane Glorioushats) or on it (let that knitter remain anonymous) so the question is, should I make more of it?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


or work in progress: Angora scarf which made my mother thrust several very suspicious looks and comments like You're knitting? What is that? This way? and poked it in a disliking way. The only problem is that the corners are joined in a not really stretchy way and I don't like it. But it knits relatively fast... and it's been ripped like ten times already.

I got a handful of 40cm circulars so I felt an urge to try and returned to the forest sweater. I've been working on it from October. Sort of. Not really working, I guess.
Some sort of dress in minuscule gauge. Knitted on 3.5 mm needles. Killing, I hate it although I have to admit that it will look nicely.

And one finished object as bonus. Ten balls of Wollservice's Libella (I adore that yarn...)in copper, two balls of Diadrey mohair knit double - it's red and copper and cobalt blue, especially the cobalt blue makes nice accents, and some Fashion Trend Oro by Gedifra. Stripes placed randomly, only to make the colours blend nicely (the Oro's dark brown looked terrible in the vicinity of the red Diadrey or the Libella. Ripped a lot). I adore it although the gold flakes away and leaves mess all over.

Notice that I have the same nail paint as before.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Doc tour

Part I.- at the dentist.
I phoned my dentist when I broke the tooth so she had some idea. So when I entered thesurgery, she asked Where, I said Down and back here and she checked.
Doc: What the........ there's no cavity there....?
Me: I guessed that too....
Doc: I thought it was the next one that has the big filling... but this is a totally healthy tooth! What the !@#$%^I'll do about this?
Me: Uhhhm?
Doc: How did it happen? (takes her hands away from my mouth)
Me: I was eating a nut and fruit bar, you see....
Doc: There was a stone in it? What nuts?
Me: No. Pistachios, why?
Doc: Not hard ones. I saw this once in my life before (and starts poking the broken and a tad esensitive tooth), there was a lady who found a steel nut (note: like, a nut that goes with the bolt. Not a peanut or so) in her stew by chewing it. But you ate your own tooth.
Me: Umpf.
Doc: I just wonder how the !@#$% I will fix it, there's no way how to do it properly.... there's no way how to stick some material to it. !@#$%, the crack goes up till the gum. How the hell you could bite off the cusp? So, I cannot use amalgam, it wouldn't stick to the surface, I would have to drill a big hole in the healthy tooth and modelling a cusp from it wouldn't be any good anyway. You bit it so badly that there's no good way how to fix it.
Me: Ehmpf?
Doc: !@#$%. Well, I can use some of the white stuff for fillings. It's not what I would recommend for fillings but it's stickier. And actually this is the only thing where it's better than good ole amalgam. Not covered by the insurance, though. And I cannot guarantee that it will last forever, well, I used this ionomer more times and it still holds but anyway, it can fall off, it's the cusp of the molar, you'd better not chew with it too much. No nuts, for that matter.

There was more cursing from the dentist, some poking at the back of my mouth - she even skipped her favourite Your teeth grow from the throat. Then I had to cough up something like forty euros worth which was actually much less than expected and was left with my destiny ahead and with a nearly dislocated jaw.

The next stop was my GP where I needed to get a paper sending me to some allergy specialist. Got a prescription for a nose spray and a few comments like Next time come earlier. NOt much fun for the two hours of waiting... well, at least I did some knitting and read a few trashy magazines.
Anyway, needed to go to the dermatologist which was on a lunchbreak so I was told to come at two something. I went downtown then,to have a bit of a lunch (something soft, preferably. The novocain stopped working and it started to hurt like hell) . However, soup always helps anthen I bought a Terry Pratchett book and a few hanks of yarn as a consolation.
The dermatologist is another dearie doc. I started to love her when she cured my well developed and pretty resistant fungal infection a few years ago.Well, I get it again which was the reason why I went there, this crap canbe pretty nasty... and I needed to remove a mole - was told that this one looks nasty and should have be removed long ago so I got an appointment at the surgeon and I could finally go home.

After my weekend paranioa that the place will get robbed again or that the cat will pee on the bedsheet, I was relieved that there was only a hairball on my chair and no disasters. I should relax more, I guess.

My jaw still hurts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Well done.

I passed the exam and I don't feel any better.
I'm going off for a weekend.
Leave congrats in the comments and send gifts to the usual address, I'll pick them when I"m back.