Friday, 20 February 2009


The lappy started to behave weird a week or so ago.
I suspected that there may be some bugs and when I found out that I was unable to download any antivirus software, I became quite sure.
When, on Tuesday, my eBay account was stolen for the second time, I became paranoiac and had the surprisingly intelligent idea of backing up most of my data. In fact, those hard to restitute things, such as the scarce notes for my doctoral thesis, had been backed up last Friday when the first account theft appeared and the computer showed signs of sickness.
All the Tuesday night, I and IT Joe were trying to find a way how to get some computer pesticide into the computer without downloading it from the internetz. The good ole ftp worked - and then the bugs didn't let the applications to be installed. Another several hours we, or rather Joe, tried to find something that doesn't need installing. At midnight, I had it in the lappy, let it run and it killed several viruses, ate 144 faulty files.
The next day, lappy worked better and then bricked. Apparently, the software equivalent of DDT ate part of the windows themselves. I managed to run the lappy after a bajillion of restarts to shout for help and then gave in.

Now, the installation discs for windows and whatever else I may need are arriving from several directions, unless the Italian Post eats them - I told mom to send Photoshop and some rather antiquarian software I'm using with EMS because that does arrive in a reasonable timespan. At the time being, I'm waiting for mail, reading trashy magazines, knitting, watching paint dry and doing other things that were forgotten in the times of internet as the main entertainment hub.

I'm perusing the school network and it sucks because the access to eBay is blocked here. I can live without shopping for a few days but I have due payments and I hate to have due payments. Since I'm computer-free, there won't be any pictures for a few days either.

It's my birthday today so now excuse me, I need to go for a shopping spree.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Continuous mis-achievments

The plans for today were these:
0730: wake up and work out
0900: clean the place so that I wouldn't stick to the floor. Can be done before working out
0930: have a shower, use the opportunity to wash the towel (1)
1000: write blog entries, photoshop pics and such
1100: mail should arrive (2)
1130: go to school to upload stuff and borrow books
1200: walk around, buy rice and white wine for risotto, go to Vodafone to deal with whatever my happened to my connection; sniff Coco to see whether it's similar to Kypre; buy a silione form for chocolate and booze-soaked-dry-fruit things
1400 back home, dye yarn, make the chocolate things for Riohnna, read my ass off until I fall asleep.

The reality:
0917: got up
0950: did indeed wash the floor, it didn't become any less dusty overnight.
1020: set the yarn to boil in dye
1025: went to do the writing, photoshopping and such
1157: left the house
1159: met the landlord who again explained me that the people who mail me things should write the address correctly.
1215: found out that in February, school buildings are closed on Saturdays. Went sort of shopping instead. Chatted up a perfume lady in a department store, got a sample of something new by Givenchy, tried to squeeze Ysatis Iris from her, they didn't have it in the store.
1508: on the way back I found out that I forgot to buy rice and the grocery closes at two.
1627: after having rinsed yarn, made pea soup instead of risotto and having put the first chocolate thing to the fridge. Not in a silicone baking form but in an espresso cup lined with chocolate wrapper. The aluminium foil, I mean.

There is still plenty of time to do some working out, I have other stuff to read and a shower doesn't také that long

And no, Coco doesn't smell like Kypre but I'm pretty sure the sample of Coco I have back at Home II. does smell like Kypre. They must've reformulated it in the last 15 years or it matures like like wine.

(1) The washing machine works but I'm not able to employ the right sort of magic on a regular basis. Handwashing is easier.
(2) see yesterday's post


For around a week, my computer has behaved weird. Slow startup, slow internet, Firefox hanging. I ran the whole disc through AVG, reinstalled Firefox and nothing substantial happened. I discussed the matter with more able friends – my usual solution to computer problems is going to the next office and tell the IT guy Make my computer work. Now.
The IT guy and the whole work circus is some 1100 km away so not only that I can't steal paperclips at work, I also can't use the IT guy. So far for pleasures of living abroad (1). Friends recommended Crap Cleaner which deleted 700 Mbytes of something that totally is not missed. Matters very slightly improved. Firefox remained lame, I was pissed because there are all my bookmarks and it remembers my passwords and.. anyway, I hate Explorer because it doesn't have the things Firefox has.
For around a week, my computer has behaved weird. Slow startup, slow internet, Firefox hanging. I ran the whole disc through AVG, reinstalled Firefox and nothing substantial happened. I discussed the matter with more able friends – my usual solution to computer problems is going to the next office and tell the IT guy Make my computer work. Now.
The IT guy and the whole work circus is some 1100 km away so not only that I can't steal paperclips at work, I also can't use the IT guy. So far for pleasures of living abroad (1). Friends recommended Crap Cleaner which deleted 700 Mbytes of something that totally is not missed. Matters very slightly improved. Firefox remained lame, I was pissed because there are all my bookmarks and it remembers my passwords and.. anyway, I hate Explorer because it doesn't have the things Firefox has.

Yesterday, I was perusing eBay and found out that I can't acces my account, or rather that I can't get from eBay UK to eBay US, it wanted my password and my password didn't match. I returned a few steps back to find out that whatever password my account uses, it is shorter than my own password. To cut it short, someone stole my eBay account. I became paranoiac. I went back to friends' forum, they gave me links to sites with debugging software and none worked. May be the apparently lousy state of my computer in general.May be anything.
As I say, some of my dear friends are more computer-savvy than me. One uploaded the newest version of AVG on ftp so that I could bypass the evildoer who wouldn't let me access AVG's website. AVG ate a load of cookies (pun intended). A nice lady on eBay Live Help re-enabled my access to my account.
To add to the load of general shit, Vodafone cancelled my special offer internet connection. Gotta go there and argue of which I'm not happy (3).
I spent the afternoon in I Tatti. It's pretty there, they have books, armchairs and other nice things for people to use... and wifi. I settled in the New Library, because it's the most distant and quietest room (4). Found a socket, found a table but the only chairs available were some sort of Procrustean furniture that would break my back in two. Went to the Small library. The room offers four working places with four pretty wicker chairs. At the first table, I couldn't lift the lid that lead to the sockets hidden in the floor; the other table was occupied but it couldn't be helped, there was a working socket and a working chair so I atleast stretched the laptop cord as far as it could go (5). The person wasn't there, only a laptop and some papers. With notes in some rather Nordic language but not in Swedish. 'Hey, Erling Skaug should be here this semester as research or something fellow,' I thougt to myself (6). Since I'm a dumb blonde, only half an hour later, I saw a note with a table reservation with a name on it.
From the previous course of matters, dear reared, it must be clear that the day was entirely crappy. When Erling Skaug in person arrived, he wanted to grab his laptop and started disentangling the cords. I sorta meant to chat him up (admittedly, conversation like Oops, this is my cord is not of the intelligentest but still, one has to start somehow) but in the exact moment, my not-so-dear landlord called to inform me that some nondescript arsehole mailed me something without writing the street and street number in the address and gave me a lengthy explanation how important it is and that they will bring it tomorrow. It's the eBay people, I suspect, it happened to me a few times so I had already got the lecture, I had already repeated to the landlord that I indeed understand the importance of proper address writing but that it is not within my powers of awesome to make people write it right, after all, were the people at hand, they could tell me the thing or hand me the object they intended to mail. I am a dumb blonde but not that dumb, pretty please. Meantime, Professor Skaug ran away and rightly so.
The friends who were meantime sending me virus-eating software and giving advices on how to make computer work. meantime googled who the guy was and said that I should've stolen the notes from him as a relic. Or a USB cable or something.

(1) In case you wanted to know: no, the grass is not greener here either. Or maybe it is, in case you're somewhere with half a metre of snow.
(2) Social phobia.
(3) Social phobia.
(4) Social phobia.
(5) Social phobia.
(6) For any art historian who messes with something Medieval and Florentine, it's like, say, when an aspiring choir singer bumps into Madonna in the canteen.


Some time ago, I got hold of Kypre. The one by Lancome, launched in 1935, in what seems to be the 1930's box and bottle.

Now, the most legendary and most wanted perfume in the internetz is Djedi by Guerlain. I want it too, I read about the re-release and decided that I needed it. It was in 2000-ish and I didn't know that it was something limited so I hesitated. Now it's late, I read on some real perfumista's blog that the last time it was spotted out in the wild was the time when the bottle was sold for over 1000 euros on eBay.

Kypre is indeed mentioned in places. Usually there's the line that 'in 1935, Lancome launched their first five fragrances...' and nothing more. I browsed the perfume blogs and places and nobody ever mentions having it, wanting it, being interested in it. Which leads me to the conclusion that if it exist, then it exists in some parts of the world which use different alphabets than I'm able to read or that I have the last bottle in the world. Should the latter be true, then I must say I feel weird.
I should get a hold of some Coco by Chanel, it seems rather similar but my Coco is left in another country. I have a bit of cold so the olfactory impressions will come someday later. And I'll try to find the darn Coco.

Little unimportant things

The reason I visited a profumeria yesterday was that I found Anisia Bella for cheap on eBay and since I have a weak spot for the whole Aqua Allegoria line, I wanted to check whether I liked it. Just to clarify, weak spot doesn't mean that I like them all. I didn't have much time so I dropped to the one on the way and when I was there, I did a bit of sniffing. I heard that the whole Fendi perfume line is to be disconnected so I had the job of checking Palazzo, in case it was worth it.Palazzo shoud be a fruity oriental but first it smelled of soap, later on, it became closer to the washing powder I use (Persil something, should anyone be interested, I'll check next time when I'm in the bathroom). I should get me a sample and give it a longer thorough testing.Of the Aqua Allegoria line, I checked three, Figue-iris: at the beginning I was not able to identify neither irises nor figs. The drydown is violets – or the orris root in fact and something citrusy. At least something stayed on the strip of paper. Mandarine-basilic is orange hard candy. Something like this existed when I was a child, the candies were bright synthetic orange, tasted bright orange and were a bit sticky. A nice happy summery scent, with no trace of basil I'd be able to identify and too sugary for me. Laurier-Reglisse contains something so artificial that it makes my eyes water, slippery like polished plastic (Yes, I have very wild visual imagination). I was hanging around with my handful of paper strips to dry and in order to look busy and not breathing their air in vain, I tried the Kenzo Oriental. The one with black poppy. I had already fallen in love with last year's Christmas or End-of-year or Whatever-they-celebrate line of Sephora, Luxe Noir. It smells nice: cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and probably some synthetic amber. Now, Black poppy is pretty much similar. I wanted to buy it on the spot but my greedy self woke up and started kicking the inside of my head so I went to check the internetz first. Well, mail-ordered it from some place where it cost 20 euros less, postage included. Poor Olga, who serves as my postal hub for whatever comes from the U.S. and parts of Europe closer to her than to me. But, I'll bring her a suitcase of things from Italy.

Monday, 9 February 2009

A house on my own, part two and half.

The St. Valentine's day is approaching. Another milestone in the consumer's calendar – no more ploughing or sowing or at least the end of cold outdoors but occasions on which one is obliged to give gifts, regardless whether they are welcome, befitting or of any use.

I at least get something lying behind the whole Christmas thing. Not Easter, the idea of Easter is too complicated and depressing so the consumerist crap stretches only along the lines of chocolate eggs. But... St. Valentine? Yeah, there's some legend. I'll check the Bollandists for details when I bump into the Acta Sanctorum, at least I'll be able to fight the crap with decent arguments. I doubt, though, that any legend or even historical fact has anything to do with plush bears holding plush hearts. Or the ritual of eating oysters and drinking champagne for dinner. Or heart-patterned underwear. With this obsession about hearts, why a heart of any animal that tastes good shouldn't be served, with some sauce that could even be pink? This would be at least stylish.

I'm bothered by good part of people around me – they expect me to marry someday soon because there's nothing that should be preventing me from it. Or at least from a long-term stable relationship with the father of my future children. I'm pretty (6 or so), healthy, intelligent and what the fuck else so I should settle down before my biological clock starts ticking. No damn way. I'm becoming increasingly aware of how being alone helps my work. I'm not distracted – how simple and yet how complicated for many people to understand.

It is said and repeated so boringly often that women have to sacrifice their lives and/or family to research. Some maybe do but I strongly suspect that many more women sacrifice their research to family... and nobody minds. I only wait when someone tells me how sad it has to be to live only for my work and that I should have at least tried, maybe I could've found a husband who would tolerate my work.

They are all getting it wrong.

I'm not sacrificing anything. First, I never had any inkling to have a family. I'm a natural born loner. Second, I strongly suspect that if I actually had to choose, I would choose learning – what else research is than constant learning? Solitude helps concentration. I have social life enough to keep me entertained and feeling connected.. and then I can happily retreat to my own quiet place and sink into something that most people would find extremely obscure.

Maybe on Friday I'll celebrate my relationship to Knowledge. No plush bears, though.

A house on my own

One day, mom told me that there was the real Rio at the doorsteps. The abandoned garden across the street was inhabited by some tramps who set the garden shed on fire so there was the police, fire brigade, ambulance, noise, onlookers, journalists.... Real Rio.

I don't really know how the idea sprang up. That we could buy the garden. We discussed the technicalities of buying a part of a really large plot that stretches along the railway.

A day later, mom was ready with catastral maps.

Yet another day later, we were knee deep in planning how to use the garden.

On Friday, I was meeting a friend with whom I meant to discuss basically two things. Well,three, gossips and rants included, we're friends since forever, after all. Thing two was the library catalogue. He said that a friend of his asked him for something similar just recently and that it may not be a totally lousy idea so we happily developed it into further details and thing three was the future of my potential garden.

I probably mentioned in this place and elsewhere that I have a thing for trains. I would love to live somewhere nice and calm with a view of a railway. So, the garden is between a calm blind alley and the tracks. I admit, I rather meant a nice picturesque valley on whose other side I could see the trains going; on the other hand, it's a very local railway... and yeah, the idea of building a house there offered itself. Due to local regulations, it won't be likely possible – within a certain distance from the railway, no permanent constructions are permitted. On the other hand, many a temporary construction lives for generations and I obviously recalled the old joke that 'temporary' is a tricky phenomenon, which is however measured in exact units, one temporal being 21 years. And garden sheds are considered temporary constructions anyway.

In the debate, some underlying thoughts began to surface. The words shifted from 'habitable shed' or 'small wooden garden house' to 'urban recluse', 'sorta Japanese teahouse', 'high-tech hermitage', 'self-sustainable low-energy' and I'm afraid that we stuck to an architectural concept that will be published in major magazines. And my Savonarola chairs will look well in that one, too. The funny thing is that the garden needs to be acquired first (I hear it will be worked on very soon, just in case someone got the same idea). Then, a large amount of non-combustible trash will have to be removed, the place served as a local rubbish dump for quite a time. After that, the opportunist vegetation will be dealt with – the dead walnut tree will probably heat up the future conceptual garden shed for a few winters. And... then I'll plague the place with all the plants I wasn't allowed at home. Paulownia, to start with, the only inthe town since they cut down the one in the botanical garden. And such.

I should need to note that my utmost wishes for the next few years are to be somewhere else than hometown.

On the road

Or rather on the tracks. I haven't spent the last few days under the cupola but, in fact, under the three cupolas of St. Michael's, one big and two smaller spires of St. Wenceslas, two fort-like towers of St. Maurice and a larger number of various towers, turrets and tallish appendages of this sort.

Work called.

I seem to be drawn into doing things in which I'm not really competent. This time, I was asked to write an ESL/EFL textbook, having no teaching degree or education of any sort neither being particularly competent in English. The thing had been discussed well before but for whatever the reason, nothing much was done. Two weeks ago, I was told that the work started and that the guys, meaning the editors, started working on it. I got a vivid description of what they did and how nice it looks... but the last thing that matters is whether the cover will be blue or yellow.(1) And my dear boss is not really fluent in English so she doesn't have much idea about the overall structure of the language.

Last week, I spent most of the time in a busy confinement. The guys (TM) made a rough sketch. What I could understand was that there had to be a cartoon in every unit and that the units be based on the cartoon, or the cartoon be based on the content of the units... or just something. They made a full Unit One which I graciously ripped apart and threw away because The Guys spat tons of impossible words on the poor innocent kids without any hint how to use the words, but for pointing at a, say, rhinoceros and saying „rhino“.

I would be an evil teacher. I've gone to language courses modelled loosely on the rule of One hour in the class = two hours' work at home. Not applicable for the basic school, though. Being subject to the torture of incompetent teachers and methods that should be banned, I had a clear idea that the final product should not be a child that can point at a rhinoceros and say „rhino“, nor a child frustrated by the need to use English. (2) It's not a big deal. I think that everything has been invented already in this field, I'm however extremely enjoying writing the teacher's book. I imagine the throngs of traditionally reactionary teachers, at least one less-than-half-competent reviewer who will point out that making the kids use some auxilliary verbs as soon as Unit 7 is too complicated. But, how do I form questions without auxilliary verbs? I do not and I will not bother the kids with telling them that the verbs are auxilliary, though.

Now, I'm on the night train back to Italy. I'll have to check whether there's a nice noun to cisalpine and transalpine. I'd like to have a nice way to say Before Alps and Beyond the Alps (3). These are two worlds. Beyond the Alps, I go to work on a rather regular basis... and I live with parents. So, I'm constantly distracted. I'm told that I should go to bed, I shouldn't eat bacon and eggs – I don't do it normally because I don't buy bacon and eggs, at parents', it's always around. And, if I make my bacon and eggs, I should eat it with bread. I need to do many things for appearances' sake – not to knit while watching movies or just sitting and talking, going to bed at something that resembles normal time.

Before the Alps, it's a concentrated intellectual solitude. I don't waste energy on arguing how come that someone who claims to be a household expert washed all coloureds together so that my aqua €70 bra turned grayish violet because that damn T-shirt, which was such a bargain, bled and stained all the rest – I do my own laundry. I do my own cooking. I can work out without anyone seeing me sweaty and I can listen to Brahms to my heart's content. Which reminds me that I left my headset behind in Beyond the Alps.


(1) No, I don't care a damn about what the marketing department thinks, they can roll it and stick it up their arses. We don't have marketing department but for some reason outside my understanding, my last, first and hitherto only book had a burnt orange cover. I hate burnt orange.
(2) I guess I have a posttraumatic stress disorder caused by German language teachers. Three were two pages ahead, the fourth was probably a former prison guard or at least had a mentality of one. I don't know German, I avoid using it, if I'm to mess with it, I prefer the sweet soft Vienna variety to the allegedly righter Saxon version that tears my ears apart. Go figure.
(3) You are at liberty to ignore that beyond is one of my fave English prepositions.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Don't let your inabilities limit your deeds

I've hopefully recovered from the winter depression.

I never noticeably suffered from SAD before. Of course,I might have felt lousy during dreary late winter days but this season, I was really useless in the depressed way. Unable to do anything, sleeping badly and for long, being tired. The social phobia took rein and I was in hiding.

A few months ago, I was sort of offered to write an ESL textbook. English as a Second Language... tee hee, I know the lingo already. (1) I gave it a few thoughts and pushed it aside to go back to my pondering about nothing and staring in the wall or what the hell I was doing. Two weeks ago, I was told that the guys from work started already working on it but that I'm the wanted main author because the guys at work don't really know English and when will I be free to come and discuss the stuff?

The answer was Tomorrow or June. The boss gasped a bit but that was it, I went to buy whatever I promised to people, got a ticket for The Reservation and off I went.

On Monday, Julian mailed me that some darn valve broke and it needed to be fixed... and the whole week, I didn't manage to go to the insurance office to throw the papers at them. Well, I went but they were already closed and they didn't have their working hours posted – the note on the door said only Lunchbreak 1230 – 1330. Well, lunching is important.

I wrote some ten units of 18 in the future textbook, did some arguing with the boss and then just gave in because I'm momentarily drained... and mumbling silly nursery rhymes. I'm taking a break until I get

the illustrations, then I'll probably do some violent proofreading and create a totally different mess but meantime I'd better concentrate on the paper I need to write in Swedish and other exams.


(1) No, I don't have any teaching degree. Neither have I actually studied English. Nobody seems to really care.

(1) No, I don't have any teaching degree. Neither have I actually studied English.