Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Random observations

I went cycling, it was windy and I had a rather good idea to inspect yet another path to check what's growing around. Not much interesting flora was spotted but compared to what I remembered from last year, the path was awful. My knees and hips were on the verge of submitting a relocation request in quintiplicate to... wherever body parts may complain. I decided to take a shortcut through the nearby village to the nearby normal road because at a certain point, my only wish was to go home and soak in a hot tub. This very good idea proved idiotic. There are several cattle and horse farms at the end of said village and someone quite reasonably decided to give a good airing to stables, dung heaps and silage so I rode two kilometres on a shitty road full of potholes, against rather strong wind and in horrible stench. I was cussing the Virtanen guy who thought that fermenting hay was such a good idea - he should have gotten the Nobel Prize for something less stinky. (1) The other day, I was in Anyplace, there's an area where several species of Gagea grow. I locked my bike to an apple tree, climbed the hill, saw plants, picked some, went down and there were local ladies standing. They saw me coming and getting my bike and asked me what I was doing up there. I said I was looking for flowers and they expressed their wonder, having thought that it's only nettles growing there. Two days ago, I was coming back from another bike trip. I'm well trained in gestalt botany so while riding and thinking of upcoming dinner, I noticed a change in shapes and colours somewhere at the periphery of my vision. Some early blossoming Carex? my brain remarked and replied itself Not likely, I'm no expert at this genus, it's probably some random stuff. I stopped, leaned the bike against a nearby lamp post and went to explore. It was indeed some Carex and there was some grass that didn't look familiar to me. Both of them were some 8 cm tall so I went to my knees (the left one complained)... and the folks, which were doing outdoor things as it was a nice sunny evening, dropped their scythes and screwdrivers and observed. Yesterday I rode to check the local swamps for interesting flora. I pedalled, minding my own business, around a convenience store. A few guys were standing on the corner in front of said store and felt the need to inform me that (a) I have boobage (b) which renders me highly fuckable. Just a while ago, I went to the post office and back and I got two more comments in the same vein. At least sans profanities. The money level in the breast reduction jar is dwindling, I should stop buying shit... but the yarn was for less than half price and it was pretty. I went to the post office. It means that I finally mailed some stuff. I'd announce the readers to stalk their mailmen but I'm not sure the recipients follow my blog. I improved my packaging style. After lengthy and frequent correspondence with Japan, I got ashamed of things wrapped in newspapers and very recycled boxes and neatified matters. I'm still a cheap tree-hugging European who gets boxes in recyclables bins but I started to use actual wrapping paper or well-preserved bubble wrap for the contents. Add a point for globalization. (Which reminds me that I promised H. some risotto mix and I can't find flat-leaved parsley anywhere.) ------------------------------------- (1) I know that silaging happens in anaerobic conditions. The stench of rotten vegetables was however unmistakable. It may be badly maintained compost and Mr. Virtanen is innocent but I don't want to inspect the issue.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Knitting as a dietary measure

I had one of The Talks with my mom the other day.

It's no news that I'm fat. I know it, I'm working out and stuff, I'm dealing with my psychostuff and I'm fighting various pressures from the surroundings. Hearing twice a day that I shouldn't eat this and rummage in the fridge and eat that and I should work out, do something useful, carry things upstairs one by one instead of by armful etc.

Oddly enough, I managed to turn the debate to a normal tone. I explained how I feel about things - that I sort of feel obliged to eat whatever is there when mom tells me again and again that there's a stew in the oven while she considered it as a sort of public announcement. At the end, we came to an agreement that she's not going to nag, announce food content in the fridge, pots and other containers and that she's even going to cook me whatever I want if I provide recipes.

Recipes will be certainly provided because it's going to be quite a bit of fun to see my mom making vegetarian curry (1) and because I'm lazy.

When packing for the family reunion, which is happening at the hotel, it occurred to me that I now have another reason to be slightly nasty. I told mom that when I knit, I can't stick my fingers into a bowl of roasted almonds and when I hold needles, I can't hold forks. In other words, when I knit, I don't eat. She reluctantly agreed. (1)

I'm sitting by the fireplace after morning botanizing and a bath in the local stream (2), or, well, foot bath of sorts, I was playing with cousin's dog and we were splashing water at each other, and I'm working on a fluffy pink and white sweater, sized a bit smaller than my current girth.

In unrelated news, after my yesterday's angry rant, blogspot is back to the old interface. Fair enough

(1) snerk
(2) 0,5°C

Friday, 20 April 2012

Dear Google,

Warning for the weak of mind and knees: In this post, I'm cussing like an old sailor. the new layout of blogspot is horrid, awful and irritating to no end. I know I know, the issue is that I'm used to something different. I don't know whether I'm writing in html mode now, for example, so should the dear and esteemed readers see some html tags that don't work, it's the fault of you, Google, who bought blogspot and who spreads the horrid and shiny white page designs even further. (Yes, your homepage is awful as well.) And then there's the anti-logic placement of the Publish/Save/etc buttons at the top. Hey, I write top-down and I end up down there so for reasons of common sense and ergonomy, I'd expect the Publish button to be at the end of my rant. The dashboard starts with your self-advertising. If I wanted to link everything to my Google profile, I'd have done it long time ago. I care a damn about all the Google shit that is supposed to make my life easier - I want to keep my life as difficult as it is, with separate passwords, if nothing else. And I want to go to dashboard to manage my blogs, which is the first and only thing I want about blogspot. As an aside: Don't take me on your general google shit. I keep reverting to English as the language of Google and all associated shit because, holy hell, I want my stuff in English, not in Czech although I'm presently located in a Czech-speaking area. You're a damn racist, xenophobic, intolerant and what else piece of idiot which doesn't respect one's freedom of choice to use their language wherever they are. I haven't looked around yet, admittedly, this piece of shitty annoying graphics may be customizable - just at this moment, I'd want to smear it with the blood of the goddamn optimist who thought that vast stretches of shiny bright white that hurts one's eyes splotched with carrot vomit orange is a good idea. I suspect that there was a super hyper important brainstorming meeting and some smartass psychologist (the sort who talks to angels and arranges crap on her table according to feng shui) decided that orange-on-white stimulates creativity, boosts energy, promotes weight loss and memory improvement. The graphic designer did what they asked him and then jumped off a cliff. I hope this crap is customizable - it will take me quite some time to find out in this new mess to find out - and I can get some darkish and subdued colours before my eyes are burned out. Google, fuck yourself. Also, WHERE IS THE FIELD FOR TAGS! And where is the fucking Publish button if not just under the body text field? Google, fuck yourself. Oops, I already said that. Huh, they started calling the tags 'labels'. They're not in a column, easy to go through, but written as a paragraph of text so that I can't see what tag I'm using in case I'm royally pissed. Hey, Google morons, do you know why I avoided wordpress like plague? Because their layout was a hell to go through. And awful. Now you emulated wordpress, thank you not. I had a tag 'bunch of idiots' that was specially designated - ha! and now how do I open the published posts in another window when you Google idjits removed the blogspot tabs that used to be up there? - dear readers, you need to find it yourselves because Google doesn't let me to do things easily and I can't search in my posts by tags. Now it's high time to resurrect said tag (not label, Google morons, labels are pieces of paper with glue on one side; if you stick said labels onto your screen, it's your quirk, don't force it upon innocent bystanders). Okay, the tags (not labels, assholes) are in a roll-down thingy. More clicks, more happiness. And those 25 or how many published posts on page 1 are interspersed with lots of useless white space to hurt my eyes even more and for the 15th and up posts, I need to scroll down. Since when a carpal tunnel syndrome or another mouseitis is a welcome thing, I'm asking you? Dear readers, thank you for your attention, should you feel like it, send me some booze. As you see, I need it. Not-really-dear Google, make this shit customizable so that I can revert it to white on black and get rid of the carrot puke coloured details.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

And that's the genetics I have to fight.

I'm becoming a sari freak. I'm easily enthused.

A nice bright blue one arrived the other day. I couldn't wait to wear it but I reasonably assumed that it would be too much of a shock for the office and I don't go out very much. We have a science fiction documentary film festival here so I grabbed the chance and went to the cinema for the first time after maybe two years. The high speed internet connection ruined something, after all.

Since I went out where 'out' didn't mean forest, garden or work, I dressed up in said sari. Apparently, the natives are generally very blasé, or it was the sweater I wore over it and a long flowing skirt, albeit in bright colour, didn't get noticed. In the hall where I was to pick my accreditation, I took the sweater off as it was hot there and during the time I hang around there, I heard a gal saying to her friend something like Hey, look, she's wearing a sari and that was it. What I noticed was that 90% of people wore something black and out of the few hundreds of people I saw, all but three wore the jeans blue-black-grey combo. Then there was me (alright, I had black shoes) and a young woman in white skirt and green tights, the barista in bright pink tee and that's all folks. It felt as if I fell into a giant jar of medicinal carbon.


I came home, parents were catnapping at the TV - well, my brain switches off when there's football on, they're huge fans so how did they dare - so I went there, mom looked at me and said What the fuck are you wearing, do you mean it, like, seriously, eyeroll eyeroll eyeroll? Without the slightest trace of snark, which was a tough job, I politely replied Now I noticed that I hadn't dressed up to your taste. Mom continued in her litany of random remarks. The more notable ones were This is just a length of cloth, You are insane to wear this and You really went out wearing this.

I tried not to laugh. Admittedly, said length of blue kosa silk wasn't patterned in elephants, Buddhas or whatever local idea of Indian may be so my poor mother didn't identify the length of uncut fabric as an actual garb. I didn't tell her because I'm mean like that although I sent her a wikipedia link and now it is up to her to get a point.

Gotta get a nicer black petticoat for my semi sheer black sari. Maybe the problem was the colour.

Friday, 13 April 2012

I am famous

I was browsing fleabay and as I have a weak spot for Shiseido fragrances, I noticed someone selling Hanatsubaki. The picture in the listing seemed rather unusual for the fleabay standards of Put it on the table and push the button mindlessly.

The other had almost an artsy flair to it:

Upon a third or fourth look, it clicked. It was this picture.

It was published first in 2009 here. Yes, at my very own blog. Along with this one:

Hey, I still have that camellia which bloomed around two months ago, that cyclamen which now lives in a pot with two other big cyclamens and many seedlings. The orchid died and I replaced it with a purple-flowering Vanda. We got the kitchen rebuilt so there's no marble window sill anymore. And sort of expectedly, I still have the very same bottle of the perfume.
Obviously, there was no note saying where the pics come from. I don't mind people using my pics as long as they are polite. Which means that they ask first or at least inform me afterwards. This person wasn't polite so I mailed the eBay copyright infringement department. I suspect they will throw it under the table as I'm not a BigAss Company. I'll keep the readers informed anyway.

Life is fun.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Armful of hope

I like the sort of knitting I call plain and boring. It is neither plain nor boring, in fact. I use striping yarn so even if it's stockinette in the round and the only interruption is the end of the ball, there are colour shifts and even if it was smooth solid black wool, there is some meditative quality in repeating the same move endlessly.
Until recently, I've suffered from a general lack of knitting mojo. Stranded work was no fun, plain stockinette irritated me to no end... I resorted to sorting out the messier corners of my stash, poking yarn around and letting my brain wander.

It brought results

The purple yarn (Exclusive from Vlnap) which looks ink blue is a future striped sweater. This one didn't need any creative input from my side, my cousin asked for such one. It's going to be purple, fuchsia and cream white and I'll find a pic of the sample sweater when I'm in the company of my portable harddisks.
The bit in carrot colours is the discontinued Katia Futura is going to be a sleeveless tunic for my friend's daughter which I promised long time ago.
Stranded stuff is KnitPicks' Chroma Worsted and I need to order more, I only have three and four balls of each colour. The yarn is heavenly smooth, colour changes are subtle and the only task now is to find the right pattern.
The purple and purple stuff doesn't work the way I'd want it so it will be rethought.

Three things to knit and now I can't decide which do I start now. Probably all of them at once. Progress will be reported.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tough life of a perfumista, part II.

The previous perfumista adventure described how inadvisable it is to nuke a towel for three minutes.

Now about something entirely different: how to get into a bottle with the glass topper stuck and broken off.
I browsed the good ole fleabay, spotted a bottle of Gucci III for very affordable price... well, the stopper was broken off but I have big brain and epoxy glue so whut.

It arrived, I put it aside until sometime later when there's more gluing so that I don't mix the stinky epoxide every now and then. The sometime later happened last week. I put the two parts of the stopper together and found out that the stopper was in angle to the bottle. In other words, someone was trying to screw it open and the rotational movement created too much torque and broke the glass. Which means that I wouldn't be able to unscrew it anyway because it wouldn't hold.

Another idea occurred to me immediately. The newer flacons come with stoppers covered in a layer of plastic. Plastic is soft. I can cut through it somehow. After all, I can keep the bottle as an objet d'art. I cut as much of the plastic with a Swiss army knite as I could. Apparently, my brain had a high because there wasn't even a bit of Now what? as I grabbed a hollow needle and used it for small scale core drilling.

It took me about an hour until I reached the promising liquid.

The revelation that it was actually a factice bottle was not exactly pleasant.

Idylle Duet Rose Patchouli

First, a ranty digression.

A perfume should have a simple and nice evocative name. Say Crépuscule. The two latest two trends irk me. One uses the simple formula of two words - one for the main ingredient, one for something else. So you get Vetiver Noir, Rose Froide, Patchouli Crépuscule or for even less sense, Crépuscule Patchouli. At worst, it would be Vetiver Patchouli.
The other trend is flankers of flankers of flankers and naming results in word strings. In which we take the original Crépuscule based on heady jasmine and neroli supported by a touch of vetiver for a bit of smoky cold and maybe a drop of birch tar or cade for a hint of smoke in the air, and a decent serving of animalic musk, like, the real thing from deer's ass, that would stand for foxes and owls going out for their nightly endeavours. (1) It becomes a commercial success (2) and someone decides that maybe there should be a lighter version (3) and we get the Crépuscule Light, later on, a summer version comes up of both Crépuscule and Crépuscule Light so we get Crépuscule Light L'Eau and Crépuscule L'Eau d'été. And since all things niche are in, let's add a bit of niche flair by accenting one or two ingredients, randomly in each of the existing version. Resulting in Crépuscule L'Eau d'été Infusion Vetiveriale, Crépuscule Light Eau de Vetiver, Crépuscule Light L'Eau Vetiver et Zizanie, Crépuscule Light L'Eau Jasmin, Crépuscule Cologne du Jasmin, Crépuscule Vetiver, Crépuscule Jasmin Le Parfum (because to the usual EdT, we've added extrait, eventually, but only in the jasminified version), and some Crépuscule Zizanie.

Are you still with me? Good for you, the ride goes on. After someone in the creative department gets raving mad, we end up with Crépuscule L'Eau d'été Parfum Intense Neroli Millesime 2012, which is a close second to Crépuscule L'Eau du Cade Cologne Benzoin Le Parfum Intense Rénard Polar. The Institute for Clarity and Purity of French Language sues for obvious linguistic abomination, polar foxes march on the company headquarters to bite someone in the posterior and the perfume consumer goes to the nearest treehugger store to buy patchouli oil.

The digression ends here, thank you for your attention.

I thought that the actual name was only Idylle Duet, the Rose Patchouli being just a small identifier, addendum, omissionable thing. Later, I learned that there will be Idylle Duet Lilac Something and banged my head against my table. No worries, the table is made of decent Finnish birch that can take a lot. Finns have hard skulls.

The original Idylle oh-de-parfum was sheer crap. I guess that they tried to ameliorate it in the EdT, which is not just diluted, it's totally something different, more floral and what a luxurious soap in a posh hotel should smell like. I thought about getting a shower gel on fleabay after someone discards it from a gift box but then I forgot about it.

When Duet appeared, I first encountered it in a railway station Sephora. Having nothing substantial to do, I was sniffing news and this appealed to me. Apparently, the original blandness was tweaked to something that has a bit of body, substance and last but not least, guts. Well, appealed. I was thrilled and enchanted. From retrospect, I don't really know why. Duet is not bad, it's nice but definitely not enchanting. Maybe it's the contrast between the fucked-up Idylle La Originelle and something with a character.

Added to the Idylle Nothing-else, there's the rose and patchouli. The cheap shampoo smell goes away after a hour or two and what remains is okay in my view. There is the sugary sweet yet dry rose in the best Guerlain tradition - I guess it's the admixture of patchouli that does it, and there's a skin/leather undertone which tweaks the whole highly suspicious creation into something that made me sniff around and find out that it's actually my forearm that smells so good. Not good as in 'good to die for'. Idylle Rose-patch is nicely wearable, pleasantly unexciting and there's a bit of discord in it to keep me aware of its presence.

I must admit it now: I'm disappointed that I'm not disappointed.

(1) yes, you'll hear more of it when it gets made.
(2) I wish!
(3) Could be.

Road rash

The City Authority for Lawn and Shrubbery is repairing the paths in the parks. It is quite laudable an idea but the performance is worse. At the time being, there are stone-paved paths that are an example of bumpiness, the flagstones are falling out and there are large areas of dirt in between, and new tarmac paths which are interrupted by unfinished bits.
I planned a little trip on Saturday. The weather forecast was horrid but when it was sunny, I decided to get out a bit before it starts snowing. My camera finally stopped working after the fall in early 2011 so I rode to the office to borrow mom's. She keeps her camera at hand at the bottom of her office drawer so that she could readily document family events and such.

I left and rode to the train station. Via the park. At the dirt and gravel bit of the road, just around the corner from the street, a family consisting of three people and a dog took most of the width of the road and in order to avoid collision, I slipped and fell into the dirt. I cussed like a sailor (the genes!) and the first thing I checked was whether my hoodie came out intact.

Only at the railway station I noticed that I was actually bleeding. I was pissed because usually I carry some band aid with me but not this time and that I'm going for a trip with my elbow scratched in a big way but at the end, I slapped a piece of tissue in the wound to prevent too much leakage and went on to botanize.

Later inspection showed that unless I get the wound cleaned, I'll get a nice dirt tattoo. Having a low pain threshold, I disinfected it, slathered it with a lidocain ointment which shouldn't go into open wounds but I needed to dress the wound without screaming.

Today I checked and it all got nicely inflamed. The dinner with Doc is going to be one of the more interesting ones. I may throw in a picture of some pus tomorrow.

Friday, 6 April 2012

I may be on to something.

The other day, I was gardening and when going back home, I went to say hello to the neighbour two houses down who was sweeping the sidewalk. We started chatting and among other things, he told me that it's nice that someone is doing something about the abandoned garden.

Yesterday I went to the post office (surprise yarn and candies from Sweden! Yay!) and on my way back, I met the neigbours two houses down in the other direction. They have a cute 6 months old puppy and I played with him and ranted with the neighbours. They told me that they noticed that I was clearing the garden, that it's nice that someone is doing something about the abandoned plot and that they can help me if I want.

Maybe humankind is not entirely doomed yet.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The crisp and fresh morning smells of RoundUp....

... and the whole thing will be tougher than expected.

I expected that I would just pull the weeds and turn the soil. No biggie, a bit of work.
The problems
1) the weeds include vines growing all over, rooted wherever they were given a chance.
2) dry stems of perennial herbs everywhere
3) wild roses between them for extra scratchiness
4) Aegopodium podagraria everywhere. Probably in layers. One of the most obnoxious weeds.
5) at parts of the plot, bits of wood all over. There is a huge walnut tree which is sort of falling apart, walnut twigs are fragile and there're bits of them in a huge layer
6) shitloads of all these
7) trash including chunks of concrete joyfully interspersed among the bushes and growths
8) bits of fence collapsed or stolen, a sort of public path recently used by a bulldozer going across the garden

I resorted to herbicides. I wouldn't be able to weed the whole place before there would be new seeds all over. RoundUp is not renowned as a nutritious skin lotion, it actually does nothing but a bit of stink and I hold hopes. There'll be quite some weeding anyway, I didn't want to kill the wild asparagus, tulips and the field of scillas. I like bulb plants, that's it.

Yesterday's plan was to clear a plot for the potatoes and use rubbish, including the particularly spiky bits, to fill the hole in the fence. And some spray-killing, obviously. I partially managed. Hole is filled with sticks and twigs and it means that another bit of land was cleared. I discovered more trash to be dealt with. My potato planting optimism was premature, though. It took me a hour to dig into the compressed soil and to pull out all the aegopodium roots, which took half of the soil volume, to clear around half a metre of land. I victoriously planted twelve potatoes; I have five kilos so there's still a lot to go.

I feel good, though. Someone commented my squat gardening agreeingly, that it's just evil to let good land go to waste.

Later on, I ranted with the neighbour (it ended in a street party but that's another story) who said that it's cool that someone takes care. And that I'm cool for starting a vegetable garden there. It felt good.

I left my ugly, Roundup soaked work gloves on the fence where mom saw them in the morning. She gave a hissy fit about my awful intolerable messiness. She dislikes my potato plantation and other gardening enterprises but she couldn't feel morally superior if she told me off for weeding so she's finding substitutes to express her disagreement. To which I respond 'Whatevs' and go laugh in the shrubbery.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Winter knitting in spring.

I got a heap of beautinominous yarn for my birthday - one gets the best gifts oneself - and knitted and knitted and knitted and made more than a half of a nice sweater.

The problem appeared around that time. I had 14 balls of the base colour and, well, now I'm below armpits, some 40 cm of body to go, one ball makes around 6 cm of width, I have one ball left. The yarn seems to be discontinued and it's not available in this friggin' country. I already contacted my Parisian knitterly friend who craves after plum jam which is cheap and readily available here and something will happen.
In the morning, I was browsing my mails today and got a newsletter that there's 15% discount on everything in that store where I got my latest sari. Wait, wait, this is knitting-related. I got another sari, some embroidered trimmings and a Kerala scarf and I missed the 24hour sale by a few minutes, apparently, but bite it.
While browsing the site, I noticed quite some designs of various textiles, some of which could be well adapted for knitting. Accidentally, yesterday I picked a random book and a huge print of a pic of a sweater with lots of stranded work (that's the reindeer stuff) fell to my feet and I got an itch.

I'll waste the rest of my shift and then I need to rummage through my stash for some suitable yarns.