Monthly Archives: November 2013

Did fashion change and no one told me?

What’s up with London and people being barefeet in flipflops outside at a completely inappropriate time of year? I’ve seen three people this month wearing flipflops and no socks and its cold and wet here!

Some late thoughts on Breaking Bad/Meth Makers (spoilers)

Phew, finished and sent in my application for a ph.d position today. I spent literally hours crafting my personal statement/cover letter, because I’ve never applied for a position quite like this before… can’t use the cover letters from my days as a care assistant, y’know. I feel ridiculously under-qualified, but I would hate myself if I didn’t take the chance and applied. Even a small chance is better than no chance.

Yesterday I finished watching Breaking Bad, or Meth Makers as I’ve been urged by unnamed forces to call it. We started watching the show from the first episode a little while after the final episode aired, so I haven’t been following media or anything at all. I have avoided everything about the show because I didn’t want to get spoiled. We watched the last four episodes in one sitting. I knew from the moment that Hank called Marie and said “I love you” that he would get killed and I was so mad! Hank was awful and awesome at the same time. Yeah, he was horribly inappropriate at times but he turned out to be one of the better characters of the series. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see Marie grieve more.

I’m also disappointed that there wasn’t any resolution between Walt and Junior/Flynn. It was inevitable that Flynn would turn against Walt, but it just seems unfair that he went from basically idolizing his father to hating him and just have it end there. Sure, Walt was a bad person and he ruined lives, but I would have liked a sign that Flynn would eventually learn to forgive Walt or realize that, while he was a bad person, he genuinely cared for his family. I’m glad Jessie got out of it alive, but at the same time I’m glad he suffered. I like Jessie but I can’t deny he was a part of some really fucked up things and maybe now he won’t feel the need to punish himself anymore. I choose to believe that he got away and got to start a better life. I never really understood Jessie and Walt’s relationship because in one episode they hate each other and in the next they say they’re like family.

When it comes to Walt’s fate, I thought I wanted it but then I felt a twinge of sympathy after all in the end. Like Dexter, I was sure from early on that I wanted Walt to truly face the consequences of what he had done. With Breaking Bad, the show prepared us from the first episode that Walt was going to die sooner or later, so I guess any other ending than Walt dying wouldn’t have worked. I still think I would have preferred seeing Walt in prison or a meth overlord but with his cover blown and everyone knowing who he was and what he had done.

Overall I’m happy with how the series finished. I mean the only other show that I watched that finished this year was Dexter, and in comparison I have NOTHING  to complain about with Breaking Bad. Still bummed about Hank, but at least he got to go out in a relatively dignified manner, not crying and begging for his life. I need to find another show to fill the hole now.

But it’s not urgent; I’ve been longing to read other people’s thoughts on BB for months and finally there’s nothing holding me back. So if you can’t get hold of me, it’s probably because I’m stuck reading every interview and article about BB that I can find. 😉

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Original art post: Undressing

Boop boop, here’s another original art post. As you might remember, I wrote a while back that it was time that I stopped covering up men in my drawings, and this was the drawing I was talking about. If you were expecting a single, massive dick, I apologize for the disappointment. Something about this drawing: It’s a human showing a robot inside and a robot showing a human insides. When I use photoshop I usually start off with a real sketch that I scan and then outline in a different layer, but this time I used the multiply setting to keep the original lines and shadows and add on to that, which takes less time.

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Life Imitating Art: Fresh Meat and Fighting Techniques

In the latest episode of Fresh Meat, Howard was preparing to fight another man. He got the advice that a fight is more than just physical strength and that he could gain the upper hand by asking his opponent something really random and confusing, and by doing so catching them off guard. When I saw the episode, I thought nothing of it, but little did I know that the advice would be useful to me a few hours later. It was yesterday morning and I had somehow gotten involved in a tickling fight; it’s possible that I may have started it. Tom makes the most ridiculous and disturbing sound a man can make while being tickled, and I regret that I wasn’t able to record it at the time. It sounds something like “Nyyya! nyyya! nyyyahhahah!” but in one octave higher than his usual speaking voice. It wouldn’t be so weird if he did it on purpose, which I thought was the case at first, but I believe that’s just the way he unintentionally laughs when being tickled. W.T.F. It’s about as disturbing as Jimmy Carr’s laughter (“It sounds a bit like a seal being molested”, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here).

Anyhow, he has the advantage of being both stronger and heavier than me, so I ended up being pinned down. After like 5 minutes of trying to wriggle, claw and headbutt my way free, I almost accepted my fate. Then suddenly I thought of what Howard had done… and said “Do you know why your eye color is slightly different when you see them in the mirror?” BAM! I’m not entirely sure how I did it, but during that moment of confusion I managed to catch him off-guard and push him onto his back and place my knees on his arms. Soooo proud of myself!

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Last weekend was spent in London stocking up on lingonberry jam at the Scandinavian Christmas Market. Lingonberry jam is the only Swedish food that I use on a regular basis and I use quite a lot of it too. IKEA carries a form of lingonberry jam in their food section, but if you’ve ever bought it you’d know that it’s more of a red sugary goo with the occasional berry in it. The stall where I bought mine from at the Christmas Market was Scandinavian Kitchen, which has a store in London which carries a bunch of Scandinavian food. They post all their board writings on their site, I’m particularly fond of this one (click on the image to go to the webpage):

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We also found out that there is a Swedish bakery in London, because they also had a stall at the Christmas market. If I want anythingI’ll bake it myself, but it you’re not so inclined and you fancy some Swedish baked goods, you might want to give it a try. Oddly, they don’t seem to list their address on their website, but they handed out pamphlets at the market with the address on it. It’s on 24 Rose Street, near Convent Garden.

After the Christmas market we went to Hyde Park to check out this year’s Winter Wonderland. Man, I wish I had more money and more patience. If I did, I would have gone on all the ride, except for this one which looked really boring (the one in the background seemed far more exciting):

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Boy, was it busy. I think it was the opening weekend so it  makes sense, but all I could think was “How the f*** does all these parents have the energy to bring their small children here? I’m exhausted from trying to navigate through the masses and I don’t have a toddler and a baby to look after”.

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Heading for Christmas in London

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Agents of Shield

I watched episode 8 of Marvel: Agents of Shield yesterday. I guess people in the US have seen a newer episode so maybe they know more by know but here’s one thing that has bothered me: Since the first episode I’ve been shouting “You’re a f***ing clone!” at Agent Couldson and he hasn’t realized it yet. It seems so obvious! The hints have been really blatant. If he turns out to be robot or an alien I will be slightly surprised but I swear if they’re going down the clone route I’m going to throw the remote against the TV.

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spinning spinning spinning

I’m having one of those rare moments when I’m so hyped up/manic that it’s almost not funny! I spent 5 minutes just spinning around on my spinny share and listening to Cat Steven’s version of First cut is the deepest. I find myself dancing, biting my hair and drumming the table with my hands without thinking. I’m trying to calm down by listening to music. When I’m manic it’s like my mind isn’t as quick as my body and I think something like “It would be nice with a glass of water” and then I’m immediately in the kitchen reorganizing drawers with no memories of what happened in between. It’s like I have a very sporadic ADD because I don’t really have any reason to be hyper. Well, I guess the proper psychiatric definition is having a severe case of being just like everyone else, meaning full of unexplained quirks and contradictions. Or just coffee and sugar overload but I don’t think that’s the case…

wooooo

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Oups! Seems like I haven’t posted that much lately. I blame not being near my laptop that much the last couple of days. I’ve been busy doing training for my new job. I would write about it if it weren’t for the fear of breaking their social media policy; seems like you can get in trouble for just posting photos of yourself wearing their uniform online, so it seems better to play it safe. It’s a shame because the uniforms are GORGEOUS. I’ve never seen such lovely health care uniforms.  I want to wear them in my grave.

Anyhow, my week started off with celebrating our 2nd anniversary by going down to Afters for desserts. Afters is a dessert place that serves desserts until late, late in the evening. To make it better, it’s literally just around the corner from where we live. I’m not a big anniversary person and I don’t really want to do the whole gift-thing when there’s only a month left until Christmas, but any reason is a good reason to have ice-cream. I had a £10 chocolate fudge sundae with strawberries and I was really happy that it didn’t even make my mouth tingle from allergies.

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The following day was spent training while Tom was home making pralines, polenta-based sponge cake and mushroom risotto. He can’t be left in the kitchen without supervision for too long, or I’d come home to a functional patisserie. The same evening the following conversation took place:

Me: I’m really in the mood for Fanta, but I forgot to put it in the fridge so it’s not cold.

Tom: Just put it in the freezer and set a timer for 30 minutes and it will be cold.

Me: Good idea! But I don’t need a timer, I will just keep an eye on the time.

12 hours later, around 8am yesterday:

Me: Oh **** I forgot to take the Fanta out of the freezer yesterday.

It’s now 5pm more than 40 hours later and I’m still waiting for the ice in the Fanta to thaw.

Any reason is a good reason for ice-cream

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Cooking

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking and finding new recipes. It is something that runs in my family. My mum grew up with fancy Italian and Croatian food, since her dad was Italian-Croatian. While she might not make the healthiest of food, it’s no doubt delicious. If I had to pick one thing that symbolizes her cooking it would be a sauce recipe she gave. I had searched for sauce recipes online but the amounts of milk, stock and cream varied a lot. I knew her version of the sauce was really nice so I called her and asked what she used and wrote down the ingredients. As I started cooking, I realized what her secret ingredient was, or to be more precise, the lack of ingredients. Where the other recipes included mostly milk and stock with a portion of cream, the recipe mum gave me stood out because it ONLY used cream mixed with a little bit of stock powder.  So, yeah,- not so healthy but I can’t argue that it tasted delicious.

My dad didn’t cook that much until about ~13-14 years ago, probably because mum had been a stay-at-home mum most of the time. The only think I can remember him cooking when I was a kid was pancakes, which to be honest were and still are much better than the pancakes I make. After mum became ill and the following divorce I guess he was forced to start cooking and just found that he enjoyed it. Nowadays he gets together with equally old friends and cook fancy dinners with a lot of wine and fancy ingredients like Kobe meat. Once he accidentally ordered half a kilo of Russian caviar and didn’t have any recollection of it. I think he has too much money sometimes.

As for me, cooking is something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t always been able to do. There’s the financial aspect: buying all the ingredients can be expensive, especially when you’ve recently moved out of home and don’t have all those 50 types of spices and vinegar and whatnot that you acquire over the years. It’s also not that motivating when you live alone and don’t have anyone to share the food with, which is very important to me. I recently moved in with my boyfriend, who happens to be very in to cooking himself, so these days I get a chance to practice cooking new things much more often than before. I often give him grief because he experiments too much with his recipes by adding odd ingredients or doing something so differently that he ends up ruining the food, but when I take a close look at myself I realize that I do pretty much the same thing. OK, I like to think I’m a bit more careful, but I definitely see the appeal of taking a recipe and “making it your own” by adding a new flavor to it.

I don’t think I’m very good at cooking, I just enjoy doing it and I like to try new recipes. When it comes down to it, I imagine learning how to cook is often a trial-by-error thing anyway. Since I became a vegetarian some four years ago, I’ve had to come up with my own ideas when trying to make a vegetarian replica of a non-vegetarian recipe. In many cases there’s already great recipes out there, but sometimes there isn’t, so you have to use your own judgment and then a new recipe is born. Voilá!

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Can’t drink to that – pt 2: Homes Under the Hammer

Homes Under The Hammer is so amazingly budget that I just felt compelled to make a drinking game about it. It’s a show that draws you in with it’s incredibly bad (and many) puns and a music/special effects editor with an incredibly corny taste. I’m not convinced the show isn’t edited in Windows Movie Maker. What else could you possibly want to watch at 10am? If you still don’t know which show I’m talking about, it’s the one where every scene is shot slightly or incredibly askew.

So if you’re British and looking for a reason to get drunk at 10 am, I recommend Homes Under The Hammer and this drinking game… because you are sure to get hammered. (groan) Bazinga!

(And if you want to do the drinking game at another time, here’s an episode. Who uploads entire episodes of Homes Under The Hammer on youtube anyway? o_0)

Take a sip every time:

Anyone says “Needs a little love and attention”.

Anyone says “Right old state”.

Lucy says “Guys”.

The estate agents say the house has been done “to a high standard”.

The buyer or the estate agent pretends to look at a random item.

The scenes are shot from a very odd angle.

Martin is out of breath and tries to hide it after walking up a flight of stairs.

Martin is clearly avoiding angles that shows the balding patch on the back of his head/walks backwards.

Down a shot when:

The background music is a long piano piece.

The new owners are fans of Homes Under The Hammer.

Martin breaks something in the house (e.g pulls off a bit of wallpaper).

The owners never went inside the house before the auction/bought blind.

The owners make a loss (<10k).

The owners stuck to both budget and timescale.

Every time the bidding goes over £50k, £100k or £200k over the guide price.

Down two shots when:

The owners make a loss (>£10k – 50k).

Martin praises the garden or a feature in the garden and finds that it’s gone after the refurbishment.

The owners say “originally…” followed by the revelation that they went massively over budget/time.

The owners hired contractors for practically everything but claims to have done most things themselves.

Martin or Lucy indiscreetly namedrops the title of the song they want to be played in the background (e.g. “This house is truly ‘One in a million’ ;)”).

Down an entire bottle of beer if:

The bidding goes £300k over the guide price.

The buyer sells on the house before even beginning any refurbishment work.

The owners make a loss (>£50k).

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I have this fantasy, which may or may not be reality, that Martin and Lucy record all the voice overs at home in their underwear while having breakfast. I mean think about it: It’s edited in a way that makes you think Martin and Lucy returns to the houses several times. The layout of the show is like this: 1) Lucy and Martin does the intro bit 2) One of them go to the house and looks around. 3) An estate agent shows up and gives their opinion. 4) Martin/Lucy gives a brief summary and ends with “Lets see who bought this when it went under the hammer”. 5) The auction scene. 6) Lucy/Martin interviews the new owner in the house. 7) They do the pt 1 of another home before returning to the “after” scenes for the first home. 8) They return to the house after the refurbishment is finished.

I’ve thought about it and chronology behind shooting the show must be like this: 1) Martin and Lucy shoots the intro and outro scenes together. I’m pretty sure they do ALL of the season’s intro and outro comments in one day, just changing their outfits every once in a while and shoot from different angles to make the scenes a bit different. 2) A camera team is sent to an auction and makes a deal with successful bidder to come visit the house. 3) Lucy or Martin shows up at the house and gives a brief summary of it’s high and low points. The estate agent gives their opinion and then they shoot the segment with the new owner where they talk about the timescale and budget. This is all done in the same day. 4)  A camera team is sent back to film and interview the owners once the refurbishment is done. 5) Lucy and Martin record the voice overs.

So Lucy and Martin probably only spends a month or so each year putting together their scenes for the show, seeing as all the intro and outro are all shot in one day and that they’re only on site for the “before” scenes. They probably only see each other for work a couple of days each year. Martin always talks about how it is important to not “over do” a refurbishment, i.e, spending a lot of money on refurbishment without raising the potential profit due to the ceiling price of the area… I feel like that motto is something that works for Homes Under The Hammer as well. It’s a 10 am show, they probably have to stick to a pretty low budget to make a profit. Minimum effort for a little return.

Anyhow, I love this little campy refurbishment show and I think Lucy and Martin are both much more pleasant than the guy from Grand Designs. But I might make a Grand Designs drinking game in the near future.

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