måndag 29 november 2010

In preparation for...

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... the Independence day ball at December 6th, I've bought a pair of real dancing shoes. That is, shoes made for just dancing. They're supposed to support and not chafe your feet. But... they're practical, not decorative.

What to do, what to do?

Well, run in to Tiimari (Finnish arts & crafts store) and Blingi (local dress jewelry store here in Turku). For 5 euros, I got enough things to make the shoes a little bit prettier.

Tiimari + Blingi + shoe box with booring shoes becomes...

... some slightly prettier shoes. Tadaa!
While I was at Blingi - I had Mimi with me, because I badly needed her advice on buying the dancing shoes -  I found they had these cute decorative shapes cut from wood. I bought a pair of black "butterfly"-inspired ones, along with some ear-ring-pieces. They turned out quite alright :) I might actually go back and see if I can get some in violet as well, because they hardly weigh a thing and still look quite elegant. At least, I think so.

"Butterfly" ear rings.

Out in the cold I went...

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... last Friday, and came back with tomatoes, books and yarn. Not to mention borrowing 2 x 10 liter stainless steel cooking pots, and lugging them home. Had a nice chat with friends at Biocity too, and got some glögg and baked goodies for "special price" (read: all the odd cash I happened to have in my wallet... 35 cents). This snowy quest took me from Biocity, to the open air market, to the library, and to Lankabaari.

Lankabaari is one of my favorite LYS here in Turku. (For all of you non-knitters/crafters, LYS stands for local yarn shop...) But I still can't wait for Menita in Espoo/Helsinki to finally launch their web shop.

So, it was a busy weekend.

I think I spent most of my free time on Saturday in the kitchen, doing all sorts of things. While things were simmering on the stove, I opened one of the books I had borrowed from the library, and it started out just as silly as I had expected it to be. Even so, I read it until Micke went out with the boys to the pub, and then I put it aside. I don't know if I'll even finish it. Time will tell, I suppose.
The rest of the evening, after cleaning up in the kitchen, I crocheted and listened to music on YouTube.  There's this a capella group at the University of Oregon, called On the Rocks, and there's a bunch of videos of them singing different songs. They're really good, too.

On Sunday, me and Micke and Mimi went to the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum (WAM, or Wäiski). It was my first visit to WAM, and the exhibition we were going to see - mainly because Mimi's friend Anna would guide us around in Swedish - is called "Death and it's many faces". The exhibition was definitely better than what I had thought it would be: much more a comment on how death is depicted in various art-cultures, and how you can relate to the concept of death via art. Not as gruesome as you would think at first. And not overtly filled with religious art either, mainly because that would have been too one-sided.
I'm sorry, because although you could take as many pictures as you wanted of any piece in the exhibit, I didn't have time to take a single one. Mainly because we had such an interesting time wandering around with our guide, and then it seemed impolite to stop and take pictures. Otherwise, I would gladly have shared some pictures with you.

onsdag 24 november 2010

It's new, it's fluffy, it's white, it's soft...

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... but when you bring it inside, it quickly turns your clothes damp and makes your just dried and straightened hair revert back to it's original curly form. You guessed it, I'm talking about snow.

Today, it's been snowing like crazy. Quite nice for a Wednesday. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) actually issued a warning about snow squalls yesterday, for both people inland and out at sea. Still, the temperature ain't that low yet (only -7 degrees Celsius), and the wind here in Turku ain't that strong yet either, but I guess it's getting there.

Yesterday, some (idiots!) were still brave enough to head outside without headwear, but today everyone has headwear and scarves on. And I'm glad that I have glasses, beacuse they allow me to walk with my eyes open outside. Getting snow in your eyes stings. Really, it does.

You actually have to admire the suckers that go out WITHOUT mittens/hats/coats to stand 10 min in the wind and smoke their stupid cigarettes. I'm so glad I'm not one of them! *glee*

[video of snow]

Well, other than walking to the library today - I usually sit in the quiet reading room and writes on my computer - I'm gonna have to head out to today's Ravelry-meeting with the Turku-group. I actually (!) fretted yesterday about what I was going to bring with me to knit/crochet today, as I nearly only have WIPs ("work-in-progress" for you un-initiated crafters) that are so bulky and large that it wouldn't be practical to bring them. In desperation, this morning, I finally chose a shawl that's been hibernating in my "To do" basket since July. If I get it done before the 6th of December, I can use it while at the Indepence day-ball.

I've actually been fretting a little about that ball too, because I still don't know what to do with my violet/lilac ball gown. It's so... boring. I was thinking about sewing on some satin-roses, but I'm not sure what colors to use. I've been browsing the finnish arts&crafts webstores though, so I'm not completely clueless as to what's available. I just can't make up my mind.

And this is me -so- not mentioning getting  dancing-shoes for the event either.

Basically, I'm a bit frustrated about it... but nevermind. It's just a ball. Been to at least 10 of those before. Just never with so many that I know - since some people from both Soda Club and Otakt are going.

måndag 22 november 2010

Weekend of "Soda club dance camp 2010"

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So, this past weekend was a busy one. As well as a one filled with activities. And slightly aching muscles, with a side dish of sweaty feet.

Tippsund is 65 km from Turku; about one hour by bus.
The buss for the camp area in Tippsund, Taivassalo left on Friday at 16 pm., and we got back to Turku on Sunday at 15 pm. The camp is owned by the city of Turku, and they rent it out to groups/associations/schools who need a place for extracurricular activities. There's one big house, surrounded by 8 small cabins (with room for 6 persons each) and the sauna. The area itself is nice, sea and all, but we spent 90% of our time indoors in the big house, and I just about managed to snap some quick pictures of it all before the buss left (on Sunday).

The theme for the whole camp was to learn foxtrot, cha-cha and bugg. Of those, I already knew a little foxtrot, but I must say I do feel more confident dancing it now. Cha-cha was fun (as well as easy to learn if you already know rumba), and bugg was the most fun. I managed to snap a few videos (only 4) with people dancing both. I'm going to watch them when I feel the need to repeat the moves we learned. Timing in cha-cha I think was the hardest to learn, and *that* I still need lots of practice in.

The whole camp was fun, even if it just felt like we danced, ate and slept. I used 8 different T-shirts in 3 days. Or taken so many shower's in just 3 days. Or had my toes stepped on, for that matter (thank you,  you soft shoes). Or been peckish so much.

Or spoken finnish for 3 days straight. THAT was good practice, since one of the main reason behind me starting to dance in Soda Club was the chance to practice my finnish alongside the dancing. I think it went quite well, even though I've probably spoken more bad grammar this weekend than you really should.

tisdag 16 november 2010

Today...

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... I'm gonna help Mimi put up the rest of her paintings. We'll have to drill a few more holes in the walls for that, though.

My dear friend Mimi is currently living with two other girls in this huge apartment, and since they're going to celebrate her moving in this weekend, she's been a bit frantic about getting her room in order. I've helped her fix the curtain rods, and because she's been all "woe and whine" about her poor paintings never getting put up on the walls, I thought it high time we got around to do just that.

I mean, if you're an Art-history major, and you can't get your own paintings up on the walls...?
Luckily, it's pretty easy if you have a steady hand and a drill that can drill through concrete.

- later addition - 

The new curtain rods, aka the new room separators.
Above the door are 3 of the paintings that needed to be put up.
We put up these IKEA curtain rods last Saturday. Mimi's room has no "real" door, just two French-type glass doors (not shown in picture). When you close them, the glass still allows everyone to see inside. So, to fix this, the curtains on the rods. When the door is closed, you can draw the curtains together, creating much needed privacy.

Finally, they're up on the walls!
(Do you see the bent hammer?)
We tried (as much as one Art major and one Biochemistry major can) to place the paintings in such a way that they
  1. wouldn't clash with one another
  2. have enough space around them, so they don't look clustered
  3. look coherent
  4. and still would look nice together
Mimi said, and I quote her:

I'm the one studying art, but Ea was the one who suggested most of the layout.

Go figure. All I did was knit/crochet along to the interior decorating shows on the LIV-channel (like Colin & Justin's Home Heist).

We got the mirror up on the wall as well,
although it was only a horrid 5 min of work.
I thought we would never fit the small holes onto the screws!
Do you see the newspaper clips besides the mirror? That's how I learned (thank you Liv-tv!) how to put up paintings on the walls: cut a piece of newspaper/cardboard the same size as the painting, then put that one up on the wall. It's much easier to move that around, while you try to decide where on the wall the painting should go. Mimi still has to frame the 3 pictures that will go by the mirror, that's why they're not up yet.

Not to bad, considering we were both pretty newbies about all of this when we started. I still think we managed to make it look quite okay, non the less.

I was knitting & crocheting here....

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 And I got both WIPs done :)

onsdag 10 november 2010

Princess dress seeking new owner

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I have this "princess type dress", which I bought in February of 2004. I've used it on 6 occations, and taken it to the dry cleaners twice (second time because SOMEONE spilled vanilla ice cream down the front of it). Once upon a time, when it was new, I payed 280 euros for it.


But, sadly, it doesn't fit me like it used to, once upon a time.

Why? Well, I'm too tiny for it now. I requires a girl (or transgender person!?) that's a size 36-38 and about 170-175 cm tall (even when you're not wearing high heels). Me... I'm still 168 cm, and if I take a too wide step backwards I sometimes trip on the hem. And, I'm not a size 36 anymore. I'm a 34-36.

So, if anyone of you knows someone who would like to borrow a slightly bigger dress for, say, the Independence day ball this year, let me know. I'll gladly dress swap, because otherwise I'll be going in this:

Which is a dress me and my mom bought for me to use at at an event when I was still 16... And, as you can see, the dress is not so... fancy? Nice? Decorated?

Winter came! And it's only the start of November!

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It's been snowing! And much, if you ask my opinion. Sadly, nearly all of it will melt during the day and freeze during the night, so all the pavements will be horribly slippery. But, even if it's not snowing anymore today, I'll still show you some pictures of how it was yesterday.

Turku market square

Outside the city library

söndag 7 november 2010

Thanksgiving-ish kinda dinner

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Extra time = more time available for making nom nom food in your kitchen

I thought it would be possible, but... Sadly, but I didn't manage to find a whole turkey, so that we could have a "real" Thanksgiving dinner today. We had to make do with two chickens instead.

What's this about, you ask? Finns don't celebrate Thanksgiving!
Well... no, we don't - but I've always wanted to try to bake a whole turkey in the oven. For when I will need to know how to do it in the future, when I'll say "blah" to traditional finnish Christmas-ham, and bake turkey instead.
And we celebrated All Saints Day instead.We lit a total of six candles.

Before you scroll down to the photos, I must lamnent the fact that none of my food pictures ever look like those in the cookbooks. Thanks to Emmis, and her comment that

Cookbook food is still raw and has stuff in it to make it look bigger.
You would NEVER want to eat cookbook food!

I'm confident that even though the pictures in the books were nicer, at least everyone around the table wanted seconds :) Pictures can't compete with that. Oh, I must stop, before my ego runs over my common sense.

Alas! They met their final end on my kitchen counter! Poor things.

Making the stuffing/filling.

Stuffing/filling.
Chicken liver, bacon, apple, raisins and milk+breadcrumbs.
And of course some seasoning.

With surgical-ish precision (hah!), I sew together the chickens after I'd stuffed them.
Thank goodness that I had a surgical needle, it would have been so hard otherwise.

Dessert! "Cour à la créme". Or at least, the receipt was for that,
but I didn't have any cheese forms to make them into hearts.
I had to settle for this way instead. But it was really good!

After-dinner gaming. We played two rounds of "Gammelgäddan",
a really lovely and childish game. It's about fishing and
catching a "grand olde pike" before anyone else.
This time, the game was the most INTENSE one I've ever played:
everyone was snatching fish from everyone, and eveyone chased everyone!
Eventually, Martina (Micke's sister) won BOTH rounds. Unbelivable.

fredag 5 november 2010

Baking breadsticks

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I'm so glad I decided on giving up all those games! It really proved beneficial, as it enabled me to bake without stressing out. Now, I know this ain't paleo, so don't lynch me.

The receipt is from Tina Nordström's lovely book, in the chapter about tapas and snacks. Anyway, I needed something to take with me to this dancing event, and since I needed something that was both cheap, yummy and relatively fast to bake, this was perfect.
Only thing you need is:
  • puff pastry (swe. smördeg)
  • coumin (caraway) or rosemary
  • seasalt
  • one whisked egg
One thing I decided to do however, is make them okay for vegans to eat too. To do that, I bought "butter dough" made out of plant oils. No lactose, no eggs, no milk. And instead of whisked egg, I coated them with rapeseed-oil. And they still tasted quite okay, even if they didn't look so yellow and nice as they could have.

Ready to be put in the oven

All done!

torsdag 4 november 2010

Goodbye Farmville and Frontierville!

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As of 11:30 a.m. this lovely Thursday, I no longer have the applications Farmville or Frontierville on my Facebook profile. I gave away all the tiny pixel things, or at least all the one that were gift-able, to friend still playing both/either game.

I sent a last "gift" from both a applications to said friends, telling them sort of that "This is the last gift, enjoy it while it lasts". In Farmville, this was a "mystery gift", in Frontierville a "ribbon".
mystery gift
ribbon
Now, I think I will reminiscence about these two application games a bit...

Farmville, FV, or the game where
"I'm gonna come to bed just as soon
as I've harvested my crops"

My avatar, or at least 'her' last incarnation.
Personally, I would never be caught wearing
these type of coveralls.
I started playing Farmville ... close to 2 years ago, I think? I remember being semi-bullied into it by Sally and Daniel at a party at their place, but I didn't install the app until about 2 weeks after that.I thought it was pretty lame in the beginning, but I kept playing sporadically. Then, I became level 20, and it started to be a "bit better". Farmville is one of those games where you either have to have a certain number of "neighbors" OR have attained a certain level before you are allowed to buy certain stuffs. Most annoyingly, you had to be at least level 20 to buy "farm equipments" like a seeder/harvester/tractor. And later, at level 30 (and maaaany updates later) a combine harvester.

Zynga taught you in Farmville that "clicking" to do things (harvest, plant or whatever) is GOOD. It creates the feeling that "you're doing something!" hence, that you're advancing in the game.

Zynga then taught you that you can be "rewarded" by clicking enough (aka getting enough 'experience' to 'level up'), to get the ability to "click less". Hence, the more you click, the less you will have to click in the future. For those of you who haven't tired this game, this will sound stupid and not make much sense. For those of you who actually do play/have played, you know exactly what I mean.

Since there's HUNDREDS of insider's joke-things you can write down about the game, I'll just leave you with some pictures and then make up a short list for you to laugh/wonder at.

Halloween 2010. Yup, my avatar is dressed up as a dino.
The last screen-shot of my farm, Halloween-style.
Do notice the barns on the right side, covered in spider webs.
Yes, I became level 42.
42.

As you advance in level, you acquire lots and lots of pixel-animals and buildings.
My "farm collection" was about sheep. I collected sheep.
*shakes head*
White, black, Valentine's day, St Patrick's day, Easter, Spagetti,
Mining, Pumpkin and one Scared sheep. And three lambs.
As well as one Ghost sheep, popping out of the tombstone.

FV memory. This one is a classic!
And the fast that this is posted the day before my birthday says it all...
My Farmville reminiscence-list:
  • The chickens. When placing them side by side, the dip their heads just like devotees at a mosque. It's... hypnotic to look at for too long.
  • Barn raising. Se picture above.
  • Sending nails/bricks/planks/bottles/blankets/bees/shovels/whatever you need to get to finish a certain building.
  • "You have 39 application or games requests"
  • The chickens!
  • The pop ups!
  • Waiting for you farm to load.
  • Waiting for other peoples farms to load
  • "click click click" then "click click click click click click click click click". Why couldn't someone just have thought of "click and drag"?
  • That you have to press the "Like" button for Farmville, in order to get the 
  • The chickens!!! Finally, a bigger chicken coop, but it has room only for 60 of my 60+ chickens! I'm still drowning in chickens!
  • The pop ups!!! Make them stop!
  • Having 100 things in your giftbox that you can't use, but might need later. More loading time.
  • Arborists and Farmhands - finally I don't have to click on every single tree and animal!
  • ...*realizes this list could just go on and on...*

Frontierville, FrV, or the game where
"I gonna come to bed just as soon as
I get the energy required to..."

I started playing Frontierville right from the month it launched (June 2010). Immediately, I liked it more than Farmville - it had "quests", an avatar that could actually "do "things, and a more active simulation world.. E.g. if you felled a tree, you might get attacked by a bear. Your avatar actually had to "build" the buildings you wanted, etc. And the buildings weren't just decorations, they gave you more things to create, thus making the gaming more active.

Nice change from Farmville: Zynga took all the things they knew the players liked from FV, and created FrV. FV was passive, and you had to come up with things to do there by yourself. In FrV, the game presented you with goal options, and depending on how quick you finished one, you got able to do other things. Plus, you leveled up quite fast in the beginning. No more "boooooooooring" game in the beginning.

But, since Zynga is Zynga.... it was again a "click click click" kind of game. And pop ups all the time. You learned quite fast, that NOT using that "last" energy in you energybar saved you from at least 2 pop ups. But, you were sorry to learn that even when you had sent ALL of your neighbors some gifts, and visited ALL their farms, you still got pop ups saying "Friend X'x farm needs help!" or my favorite "Don't just sit there, how about sending some presents?" or "Invite your friends from Farmville over to play".

*sigh*

And, as with FV, I quickly turned off both sound and music.The game sounded like Super Mario Bros. if you didn't.

But overall, this was a very nice game - I actually liked it! But still, it had to go. Now, I'll leave you some pictures to look at:

The Halloween-themed banner

Halloween costumes on the avatars.

Avatars: Micke, Minnea and Linnea (from left to right).

My frontier farm. Sadly not in it's full glory,
since I took this picture as I was de-constructing it.
Do notice that:
I'm level 47.
I'm drowning in chickens - but this time by CHOICE! (thank you chicken coop!)
I have 17 000 logs of wood (thank you sawmill!)
And I had a blue hedgehog.

Saying goodbye, with a parade.

My Frontierville reminiscence-list:
  • Not having enough energy to do stuff, must wait...
  • Whole screen covered in money-things. Have to wait OR click on them for them to disappear...
  • Varmints: groundhogs, foxes, snakes and bears.
  • The pop ups. Like, all the time! All the time!!
    • "Get more energy"
    • "you need more of *whatever*"
    • "Beware that snake/bear/groundhog/fox, pardner..."
  • The use of "ye old frontier-English". It... got old fast. Again.
  • Planting crops, then having to move the plots, because "they're not in order! I can't make room for all the crops I need to plant, so that I can get enough pie/food to get more energy to do stuff!"
  • The Goals. Since this is not an epic fantasy game, they couldn't call then quests.
  • Not having enough energy to do stuff, must still wait!
  • Grow chickens, sell chickens :)
  • Not having enough energy to do stuff, must wait even more!!!
  • Loosing energy, money and time due to "loading errors".

tisdag 2 november 2010

Goodbye CafeWorld and PetVille!

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Since I didn't get anywhere playing PetVille, this will be about CafeWorld.


My avatar.
Picture me in a Gordon Ramsey Hell's Kitchen type of chef outfit.
I wouldn't mind having a real outfit like this though,
but my own aprons suit me just fine.
They're black, too.
Awh, and I even used to change the color of my avatar's hair
to match the one I had had mine currently colored in.

The Green Dragon.
My ex-café in CafeWorld. Alas, no more.
And I did have a little green dragon, breathing fire on the guests.
I got halfway to level 66 out of 100. I had (as you can see) too much fake-money (3 583410 cafe money) , and 17 of their "real" money. You got one "real money" from advancing one level, as well as for "cooking" dished 7 days in a row. My best streak of "days cooking" were 37.

37 bloody days of clicking on teeny tiny stoves.  *sound of head hitting keyboard*

I also managed to get, let's see:
  • the coffee machine
  • the bar disk
  • 4 "lightning stoves"
  • 5 "normal one-click stoves" 
  • 1 of their "new and improved "half-time cooking stoves"
  • 14 levels in the "dessert" specialty dishes. That's only 1 recipe (Angel food cake, hah!) that I didn't master. In real life, I'd be more than happy to bake desserts, but I don't want to eat them. I was going to special in:
    • Desserts
    • Fantasy type foods
    • Chinese
    • French or Italian
I think I'll try to establish some -real- experience in cooking real food in these food genres. That will be a lot nicer, I think.

Online gaming...

1 comments
...is taking up far too much time in this little family! Together, me and Micke are spending more time playing games online than what we're spending with one another (since I don't count "sleeping together" spending time with one another... duh, you're ASLEEP). To start combating this, I'm terminating all my Zynga game applications on Facebook.

Hopefully this will mean that my spare time will be filled - once again - with more physical activities. I've found that, since playing more and more online games, I've lost the time for e.g.:
  • taking the time to cook properly
  • spending REAL time with my friends - not possible if you're glued to the screen
  • excersise
  • do chores around the house
What I on the other hand have been doing is
  • loosing muscle tone, increase my back pain, and gotten a funny ache in my tailbone.
  • gotten sick and ill more often (duuh! gaming and not doing chores gives this to you instead)
  • getting stressed out over the games, thus creating un-needful stress in an already stressed out household
So, goodbye and good riddance to all of this!

Since Zyngas privacy policy makes it... extremely difficult... to erase all of the things that comes via their applications, I've read up on how to do it properly. And, since I also happen to respect the fact that some of my dear friends play their games actively, I want to give away as much of the "stuff" that you accumulate while playing the games.

Already today, I've removed PetVille and CafeWorld. Will post RIP's about them all.

måndag 1 november 2010

All Halloween things over here at our place

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In Finland, the later in the year it is, the darker it gets earlier in the day. Somedays, if you're lucky, you can get up to 3 h worth of gloomy sunlight. But, since we're not there yet, and it's still only really dark-dark at night...

Can you guess which balcony is ours?
...I'll leave you contemplating a picture of the house me and Micke lives in. The picture is taken at 23:30 on a Tuesday. Out of all the apartments, there's STILL light in ours (and in a few others). Isn't it nice to come home to a house where someone is still waiting up for you? (Not minding the fact that that certain someone is up playing World of Warcraft...on a work night....still)

So, Halloween is something new to finnish culture. We do celebrate All Saints day (which will be on the  6th of November for us this year).

Never the less, I'm always ready to try out new stuff, especially food+culture stuff. So, for the second year in a row now, I've made pumpkin pie. Last year I didn't get a whole pumpkin, but this year I managed to get one at the open air market back in early October.

Say hello to Mr Pumpkin. Micke carved him, after I
had carved out all I wanted from the inside.
He's a little small, but I'm still not grinning better than him.
Here we are, baking pumpkin pie.
And -yes- I do look a little idiotic.
I know, I know... paleo diet doesn't like the flour-based crust of the pumpkin pie, but when you're low on money available for "real paleo foodstuffs", you take what you get. And some carbohydrates are cheaper than others. Flour, for instance. Otherwise, I would have made the pie using either cashew or almond flour.

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