Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In the name of the Republic...

... the assholes who robbed my place got what they deserved.
I'm among the last in the line of claimants so I'll never ever get my camera and computer and stuff repaid but the men are sentenced for between two and half and three years of jail and deportation, then.

Once upon a time, mail with proof of delivery doesn't mean troubles but it is rewarding. I'm having a good day today.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bloody stupid

I was doing laundry and out of sheer laziness, I tossed the pointe shoes to the washing machine and washed them at 60 celsius. The ribbons turned ugly grey and I have an excellent opportunity to find out what's inside Gaynor-Mindens.

I could've guessed that. Bloody stupid.

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Monday, April 28, 2008


I do hate food shopping. The basic categories of food are those which I don't like, those which I cannot afford and those I shouldn't eat.
For example sandwiches. I shouldn't eat too much carbs, they make me bloated and sick. But, a sandwich uses around 100 grams of bread which is not going to be that bad. What next, cheese? No, cannot eat cheese. Not most of them and parmesan-based sandwich is no big deal. I do have dairy binges when I stuff myself with lactase and then I drink a bottle of milk and top it with a nice bit of cheese and some ice cream. Not cheese sandwich, what then. Iceberg lettuce is outside the range of affordable veggies and so are peppers or aubergines (nice when grilled). Okay, they have broccoli. Broccoli stems are cool. Now, meat. No ham, no salami, processed meat makes me sick. And, I don't like it that much. Roastbeef is outside the affordable range. I'll get chicken, boil it and cut into nice pieces of meat. Some tofu could do, too.
I would like to have some cookies. Carbs make me sick. And I should be dieting, after all. Some frozen veggies.... I've been eating so much frozen vegetables that they make me sick anyway. Hey, they've those lovable ginger cookies. I'll take them, it's a small box and they won't kill me. Then the usual kilo of chocolate. On the way toward chocolate aisle I discover the lovable ginger cookies in sales shelf. Mildly damaged boxes. I go and return the non-damaged pack and get three instead. I seem to feel somewhat comfier when I have lots of food at home although I don't eat that much apart from my binges of food that makes me sick. But I never claimed that I'm free of issues. I get more cookies, I get chocolate, I get round-grain rice for risotto milanese, small portions only, I got saffron downtown the other day. In the spice shop where they have everything, which is located across the road from the bakery where they have rye bread. My fave café around the corner, school two blocks away, tourist hell all around.
Then some more frozen fish, I need proteins. Most of them end up in the freezer because I'm lazy to cook just for myself and end up eating the cookies (and being sick).
I know, I'm whiny. There are people who have worse limitations. There are worse things than me being sick. I even have to admit that since I cut on carbs, I feel better indeed. Just now only the unplanned and uncontrolled gulp of milk is reminding me of my bad plumbing. I just need my time to somehow adjust to the whole thing and then I'll be fine.

Or at least to the next coughing fit that would remind me that I'm not fine.


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good old me

I've been worried by some yarns. I have quite some that are definitely good quality. Kirameki, for example, looks pretty in the ball. It's a tape with little loops, silk/viscose blend. The colour is very deep green, so green that in most pictures it shows as totally black. When knitted, it looks awful. If I used smaller needles (I took the 2mm ones only to stretch the sample, I used 4,5mm) , it would look like the same mess, just denser. My theory that tape yarns look better in skeins has another proof, I'm afraid.
Some yarns seems to have an used washrag somewhere in the pedigree. Nagareha, silk/wook/acrylic/whoknowswhat blend, it's soft, nice for the touch and grey with many very colourful blobs. My great-grandma had a sewing box with a clump of various threads that looked like this. I have no idea why she kept it there, maybe it was frugality to n-th degree because even with the help of the saint patron of seamstresses (whoever might that be) nobody could disentangle it. Whoever might be the saint patron of knitting, let me have some inspiration as of what to do with this yarn. I have four grey skeins and four or five in black which looks a bit better, admittedly.
Katorea is from the same period of the Noro company. Maybe some fashion historian who is better-versed in the subject might explain why at a certain point the look of being dipped in a bucket and dragged across the halfway floor was prevalent. It's the time when Noro used ivory tags instead of black ones, should you want details. This nubbly linen yarn with cotton nubbles came out better than I expected which, I'm afraid, doesn't really mean well. I had low expectations. I however find the yarn somewhat charming - but not enough to use those 9 skeins I have for a sweater. I actually have no idea what garment it could make. One row for texture in plain black sweater is my maximum.
Kiku looks like a cord. Knitted, it looks like a washrag again. I'm a proud owner of one skein so I might keep it as a collection item. Very disappointing yarn. It evokes the '80 to me but I'm too young to remember.
The utmost surprise was this yarn. It is pure linen from Yllet, I bought it in Sweden and it was freaking expensive. At least in my terms. It was lying somewhere around neatly packed in a plastic bag and I just didn't know. In the shop where I got it, they had some samples which were beautiful, that's why I got the yarn. It is however linen, people have horrendous stories about it and it's said to be hard and scratchy. I fished out a skein and made a sample. I started with a 1x1 ribbing since I thought that as a plant fibre, it would lack any springiness. The ribbing had very sculptural quality to it, wool behaves diffferently and cotton just hangs in a boring way. I switched to 2x2 ribbing and to my sheer surprise it wasn't the usual flat-on-two-levels ribbing.... it was undulating, creating ridges and abysses. The yarn is sturdy, almost wirey but by no matter hard or scratchy, it's beautiful for the touch and feels sort of waxy and it's glossy.
I don't really like cables. I can make them in many and tangled ways but it's not the mindless knitting that I prefer for various reasons (basically I let the hands knit and my mind is occupied by something totally different). I however couldn't resist. The yarn just shouted for ribbing. I tried this basketweave pattern (okay, there's wrong crossing. It's only a sample, folks) and it came out totally stunning. There's a problem. I have one skein in black, two in grey and two in white, one of which is somewhere and I have no idea where. I could use a heap of each of the colours for a heap of... something. Something possibly cabled.

Now I need to work a bit but tomorrow there'll be something very stupid presented.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Out in the wild

For years, I've wanted to take a picture similar to one Vilem Heckel made. Prague castle with picturesque clouds, photographed from the pear orchards, with blossoming pears. I haven't managed. Neither before, nor this year.
There's a pear tree next to this house so the things are positively blossoming in this area. I checked twice in the morning, looked at the sky which promised a promising mixture of the blue stuff and clouds and off I went. St. Murphy stood by my side so before I got where I needed to, the blue stuff was entirely covered by the clouds.
The area up the hill is freaking nice. There's a huge orchard that belonged to the monastery above and now it serves as a public park which means that it's unpruned. The area around is tourists, tourist traps, tourist crap, overpriced restaurants, hotels, cafes and other institutions that lack the basic politesse of addressing the public in the native language of the country - and then, they lack the basic knowledge of any other languages, thus committing unforgivable crimes on other languages, be it English, French or whatever else.
The only oases of normality are the occasional convents and churches and embassies. Quiet, peaceful and they have some sense and are useful for the world. Tourists are a nuisance.
I tried to take my picture but it's no big deal. Either Heckel had some advanced technology, basically a lens with immense depth of the field, or there was some nasty trick to it. He had well focused the pear blossoms and the castle. And, I mean in one picture. I should have taken the shift lens, that one is better than the normal one. I could get off with some photoshopping but that would be plainly mean. I know that people do it but.... it's no fun. You get blisters on your ass from excessive photoshopping and you lose the ability to make decent pictures, first of all. As you see, I decided that you'll get the picture of pear blossoms. They are cuter than the castle.
And, please, don't go to Prague. I don't want you here. There's around five million of tourists anyway and they've taken everything away so there's nothing to see and coming here would be a waste of time.

For the guy on the tram: I appreciate your interest in my candies. No, I'm not a Finn, definitely from where they'd speak with such an accent so I have no clue what you told me. And that's the reason why I even didn't try to start a conversation. Moreover, you got off on the next stop.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Nerdy nerd

Every last Friday of the month, there's my postgrad seminar. Boring, with compulsory attendandce. After yawning myself to near death, today I decided to arm myself with something to read. Art book for obvious reason, something small for practical purposes. Art books tend to be huge and due to lack of better choice, I grabbed Hiekanen (1).
I sat on the metro and, erm, read. And looked at the pictures, let my thoughts wander and such. After a while I noticed some people looking weird at me. This is a free country so people are allowed to look weirdly at other people so what. Then I heard them speaking Finnish. I would eavesdrop but I needed to get off. From the weird looks I couldn't make out whether they thought me another itinerant Finn or rather a local person with not so practical choices of things to learn.
The book accompanied me through the seminar. Some colleague was talking about iconography of founder legends in Benedictine convents in 17th and 18th centuries. Booooooring. I learned a bit of art history lingo in Finnish, meantime. The Professor (2) had three phone calls during the lecture and didn't have politesse enough to fucking leave the room. Now that's called self-importance.
The other plan for the day was to go to book fair and meet a colleague there. I couldn't reach him on the phone so I went for a coffee, bought saffron (there's a spice place close to school and I took the opportunity since I don't go to school until I have to) and pastries, thought that colleague might be hungry. Took some cash from ATM, got on a wrong tram, got some weirdo looks on my Finnish book from some passer-by Swedes.
I went to the fair, wandered around, greeted a friend, stopped by the stall of Oikumene, the publishing house for smartasses. The guy in the stall diagnosed me: "You want Heidegger's Being and Time, ma'am, don't you." I told him that I have that one in their first edition, in the pale blue wrapper, you know - and gained instant acceptance from the seller and from a random guy who was standing there and reading; remember that I still somewhat look like a dumb blonde. I checked new books, said a few things about how nice their books look (they do) and promised to drop by later.

The Technical University had their little stall next to the huge stall of universities combined. There was something going on, some elderly engineery type was saying something. I stopped and tried to squeeze closer when some lady stuck a cup of wine (I admit it's yucky to drink wine from plastic cups but such is the world) to my hand and then I realized that there's some presentation going on. The engineery type published part III. of Physics in cultural life (3). It sounded interesting so at the end I invested some of my hard-earned money to Part I. which covered Greece, Rome and Middle ages. From somewhere in the crowd, the guy I met at the Oikumene stall materialized. The place was crowded like hell, we stood there waiting to pay our acquisitions and chatted. It turned out that his father is the former director of local botanic garden and that the guy himself is an assistant at the Technical University, at the department of Neutron Reflectography, whatever it might be. "Like x-ray, but with neutrons," he kindly explained. After a discussion on a broad range of subjects, he invited me to some local swamps to check these. I must admit that I rather know swamps close to my hometown so I gladly accepted the invitation.

Nerds of all countries, unite.

Went to buy some books. I've finished De vulgari eloquentia (4) I got at the fair last year, had still some cowrie shells left to spend so I got myself some Pico della Mirandola (5), letters of st. Jerome (6) and some Bonaventura (7). Food for thought for the whole summer.

On the way back, I was thinking. Lately I've been really nervous about my philosophy paper. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to write about something Medieval. I borrowed some books, re-read my Hugh of St. Victor (8), thought about things, invented nothing and became nervous. I have time until September but I'd like to be done with that soon. And the idea wouldn't appear. It's only 20-30 pages, doesn't have to be any research or anything, it just needs to be written and I suppose I can get off with quite some superficiality.
I got that Bonaventura. There's a few things Bridget might have gotten from him. I have a book on her studies and such. Umberto Eco has it (don't have the article at hand, it's among clippings in another home) that dissertation is like a pig, all bits and pieces come to a good use someday. I have that book on women in religion in Italy and there's a few essays on Medieval mysticism and such.
Now, I might have gotten to the dissertation mode.

(1) Markus Hiekkanen: Suomen keskiajan kivikirkot. Suomen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki 2007
(2) The head of our department. Also my dissertation consultant. Thinks Medieval art in Scandinavia is crap.
(3) Ivo Kraus: Fyzika v kulturních dějinách Evropy. Starověk a středověk. Nakladatelství ČVUT, Praha 2006
(4) Dante Alighieri: De vulgari eloquentia. Oikúmené, Praha 2004
(5) Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: De dignitate hominis. Oikúmené, Praha 2005
(6) Jeroným: Výběr z dopisů. Oikúmené, Praha 2006
(7) Bonaventura [di Bagnoreggio]: De reductione artium ad theologiam. Unus est magister vester, Christus. Oikúmené, Praha 2003
(8) Hugo od svatého Viktora: O třech dnech. Oikúmené, Praha 1997


Monday, April 21, 2008

In every fat girl, there's a thin girl and lots of chocolate.

Or at least people say so. I'd hereby like to inform you that I've lost some kilo and half of chocolate.

They also say that in every good person there's a small evil person that's trying to get to the surface. This however doesn't apply to me since I'm totally and fully evil and bad. And the little good person in me was hunted, caught, roasted and eaten.

I however have an inner moron. I checked the yesterday's commenter and couldn't remember whether I know her. After a while of banging my head with a brick I decided that this is not going to wake my memory so I wonder whether this is the Sara who was around last semester or whether all the Swedes look somewhat generic Swedish. It might be a pure coincidence but I'm not inclined to believe in these.

I got some fabulous yarn from Agústa aka StashDiva. Something by Emilio Pucci, yes, that Pucci of the Pucci family which was mentioned by Dante if I remember well (where's the brick?) which still lives - the Pucci family, not Dante - in Via Pucci, oddly enough in Palazzo Pucci in my best beloved Florence. Whatever the project will be, it'll be called Fiorenza. I'll find the bit in Commedia I have in my mind (where's the brick again?). Anyhow, I just loved the package with some Icelandic writings on it. I had already noticed that this language reaches the heights of absolute coolness. Oddly enough, when I went from the post office, dropped to the grocery to get some apples. When I was trying to pay (the cashiers needed to share their lunch experiences or wtf), some lady asked the cashier to keep her bags there. One of them was a plastic shopping bag from something called Handknitting Association of Iceland. Wanted to ask the lady whether she's a knitter but she meantime disappeared somewhere in the vast wilderness of bread department. The Icelandic post has the prefabricated boxes that any post has. And the Icelanders had to be smart folk because I needed twenty minutes to find the way how to get in. I got the idea that I might learn Icelandic, after all. I toyed with the idea even some time ago - I told you that there's a little moron hiding in my smart (and fat) self that sometimes comes to the surface and does things. I'll go and check the options - I'm quite sure that Icelandic isn't taught even at the university. The worst idea of the week, I told you.



(1) On Tuesday Mom came. She insisted on buying me some clothes in the local Tesco but I don't go for that crap unless it's the final sale. After three laundry cycles, my fave baby blue top changed into baby blue washrag... you get the point. I asked for washing powder and sunscreen. Due to my allergies to everything, my sunscreen is in the very expensive category and the washing stuff without scents and fabric softeners is the same. And when I'll have lost those ten kilos, I'll have lots of cool Italian clothes to wear anyway.
(3) On Wednesday I had the interview for scholarship to Italy. It went well, the people before me apparently had worse Italian or a tendency to answer questions with one syllable which might well make the same impression. Especially to me, sitting behind upholstered door.
(4) Got a grant. Dunno how much, I asked for 10 000 euros but the mail said that the budgets were cut down for everybody. I don't remember my password for the university files, I'll have to go and ask for a new one. Well done.
(5) Got work.
(6) I compensated getting work by spending some 100 euros on yarn.
(7) Lost some weight despite all the chocolate and poppy cake. Well done.
(8) Hannu's socks:

It's my feet, not those of Hannu. I just don't shave my legs too often since I've stopped going to dance classes.
(9) I finally called the photography supplies place and ordered my macro lens.

I noticed I skipped point two.
(2) The Rug. Felted, needs ironing.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not working.

I'm at parents' and didn't bother to take the laptop with me. I'm thus in the office where one computer has Photoshop but not usb ports. The other comps do have usb ports so I could theoretically download pics on the server from one computer to another. The IT idiot however messed with the connection of users to the server so I cannot connect onto the server.

It means that I won't show you the pictures of the finished rug. Nor any other pictures I have ready to boast about.

Dad is ill. Not the usual man flu but some nasty inflammation. He even got antibiotics but he's in such a wretched state that I even skipped the obvious remark of Remember what it did to me last month. I have to go home to bring him food.

I'll be making poppy seed cake, folks. I've been dieting for quite a few days (okay, I'm denying the bar of chocolate on Monday evening) and it seems to be working so I deserve a treat.


Friday, April 11, 2008

I lost a loaf of bread.

I'm perfectly sane. I just had a loaf of bread in the freezer and I took it out to defrost and it disappeared. I remember it clearly, a huge loaf of bread wrapped in green trashbag- and now it's gone. I spent several hours checking all possible and then all impossible spots and didn't find it. I have no idea how can one lose a two-kilos loaf of bread.

Added later: I found it. It was among pasta. Must have walked there itself and close the door of the pasta cabinet from inside.

Otherwise I'm perfectly sane. I did some cleaning, some dyeing (check the etsy place) and read a bit for teh upcoming interview for the scholarship or what the hell to Italy. Mom is coming on Tuesday so I need to pretend that I'm less messy than what I really am.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Weekend spent in a useless way

I conducted some experiments on myself. If I get some yoghurt, I become sick. If I take it with lactase, I do not become sick. In theory there shouldn't be that much lactose in yoghurt but maybe my guts didn't notice.
I discovered that mozzarella is full of lactose. I'm sick even now and so bloated that I could float in the air weren't it for my heavy bones.
Been to the doc. I needed a tetanus shot and I wanted to ask a few things anyway. Good enough that the antibiotics cured my diarrhoea. As for my indigestions, I was told not to eat things that make me sick. What I'm supposed to eat then is probably kept secret from me by the all-over-the-world conspiration. Seems that there are two sorts of things to eat, those that I don't like and those that make me sick. Okay, I'm allergic to nuts but no big deal if I eat them and the same with apples.
As for lactase, it seems that it doesn't exist here. I have still some left from Finland. Google spat only one relevant search result (something that is sold here). A bit of simple mathing told me that it's four times as expensive as the Finnish stuff. And they say Finland is an expensive country.

Mom has some fat-bashing period these days. It's becoming irritating. Today we went shopping together and I wanted to have a look at quite a nice hoodie. It was cut to fit snugly so I just said that it's not a thing for me. My gracious mother said that this is, after all, a store for normal and sporty people, not for me. I missed the right time to kick her shin which I bitterly regret.

I look the same. Just like a zombie DJ so no pic of me today.


Weekend spent in a useful way

On Saturday I did some gardening. My back has very sharp opinion about untrained people shoveling the soil around even now, two days later.
I was in the forest yesterday to take a few pics. The weather was lousy and I hear that winter will be back.

Daphne mezereum
. It blossomed nicely a week ago, though.

aphne mezereum. A bit of detail. The shrub, apart from being poisonous as hell, has pretty little pink blossoms and when the leaves start to sprout, the colour combo is great. Sunny day would be much nicer.

Pulmonaria officinalis.
Nice herb, along with Primula an ingredient to my Grandma's all-powerful blend against cold. And it's a nice flower, too.

Cordyalis cava.
Comes in several colours, not only pink but also white and purple. Not edible, as far as I know.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Done with that.

Today we finished all the five books for the goddamn stupid 4th graders. The boys went to get drunk but for the last one who's printing something, I'm going to eat out and then I'll be back to abuse the printer to my heart's content. And just idle here, hidden from my evernagging mother and all bad things that could encounter me.

To commemorate this event, the filling in my chipped tooth chipped. Teeth always go bad on Friday afternoon.

That's the narcissi. I took the pic more than two weeks ago and wanted to post it to demonstrate that our winter starts in March but didn't manage to. It's a pretty kitsch, though.

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In the tracks of Bridget Jones

That's me at work, wasting my youth away. I do look like a DJ high on DDT which I am not. It's just me, white haired, white skinned, white-clad. Listening to Timo Rautiainen and I don't want my music taste to be disputed. I don't usually spend my workdays with headset on but I live next to a huge laser printer that makes sounds similar to steam powered locomotive and we do lots of printing these days so rock music is a defense of my sanity*.

I admit it, I need to lose weight (see the soggy face).
It has nothing to do with my parents' continous nagging, teaching them to say Bon Appetit instead Don't eat that much, you're obese is another issue.
I started working out. The reason was pretty simple. I sit in the office all day long, write some crap all day long (thus no decent blogging lately) and then I come home with my hips aching and legs swollen and brain swollen and even my cellulite hurts.
I discussed this thing with a friend who has some other issues but the same outcome and we started a contest: who will lose ten kilos earlier.
That's me, an old friend of all things silly.
So, on Tuesday (or Wednesday, definitely not yesterday) I had 89 kilos including celly and handbag.
Tall 175, that's not a variable.
No chocolate today, I ate it all yesterday.
I don't smoke and I seem to be the last person in the world. Definitely the last one in the family and the last one in the office so this Bridget Jones category will be skipped.
Worked out only like 20 min in the morning, had to be at work early.

This is my new sweater. In yarn that is softer than butter, striped at the back, with lace leaves on the front. Just to show you that I'm the good ole, albeit pale, me.

* 'm not discussing this now. I'm a tired person and arguing with tired people is dangerous. They bite.