Monthly Archives: January 2014

My top 10 most listened-to songs

Someone prompted me to do a list of the songs I listen the most to on my phone. I don’t use Spotify, so I’ve estimated which songs I listen to the most at the moment and added links to the songs on YouTube. It’s not a list of my favourite songs or the songs I think are the BEST OF ALL TIMES, but all of them are pretty sweet and well worth a listen.

Sia – Elastic Heart.
Grimes – Be a Body.
Ingrid Michaelson – Mosquito.
Ben Howard – Dancing in the dark.
Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata. Not exactly this version,  but close enough.
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Hairspray Heart.
Blue October – Hate Me.
Sigur Rós – Kveikur.
Nine Inch Nails – While I’m still Here (Oneohotrix Point Never Remix – the link is to the original because I can’t find a link to the remix)
Michael Giacchino/MI5 – Kremlin With Anticipation.

PS: How rude was it to cut off NIN at the Grammys? RUDE. But at least now, Reznor has something to be righteously whiny about.

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Surprise Swedish food

A couple of days ago I had a day off from work and was at home doing tedious but mandatory e-courses when the door bell rang. Outside the door stood a postman with a package, which turned out to be a book that I had ordered. I went back inside, sat down and started working again… when there was another buzz. Confused, I went down and opened the door once more. It was another postman with another package, which he asked me to sign for. It was a rather big package with the word “kitchen” on it. Since I couldn’t recall ordering any kitchen things or anything large recently, I checked that it was in fact supposed to be delivered to our flat. It was, it even had my name on it. I brought it inside and looked a bit closer… it had the words “Scandinavian kitchen” on it… realization started to dawn…

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Oh nom nom nom. Scandinavian kitchen is a store in London that sells Scandinavian food. My boyfriend wanted to do something nice and noticed that I was low on my precious lingonberry jam, so he thought it was a good opportunity to surprise me. I pretty much went crazy over the crips, they’re the only brand of crisps that I eat. 😀

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an interview with two foreheads and an invisible man

I had the ph.d interview today- it was really weird because it was over Skype. I had made sure my cam would give a clear picture of me in front of a white, empty wall and that Tom was eating breakfast in the bedroom so the interviewers wouldn’t get an image of him wandering about half-naked. Very considerate, right? But what I got from the other side was a picture of two foreheads and sometimes a couple of eyes, and they weren’t even of the person asking the questions because he was sitting behind the screen. Very odd angling of the webcam. It would have been less distracting with no video what so ever. It’s really difficult to give the appearance of interest through body language and to achieve a feeling of eye contact for the other half you have to stare straight into the camera, not into the eyes of the picture beneath. I think I did OK under the circumstances, but they didn’t really make it easy for me. In general, I hate being interviewed, it’s awkward and I don’t think I’m any good at it at all. If I know “sort-of” what the questions will be I will prepare for them, but whenever a question catches me off-guard I find it difficult to come up with an interesting answer and elaborate. Annnyhhoooow I don’t feel too bad because now I can forget about it for a few weeks and focus on life here again. It’s quite nice that it will take them a while to decide who to give the job to, because that gives me time to think about whether I really want it or not.

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Amongst yawns and snores

Gosh, I’m so tired. I had brief work-related training earlier today and planned on coming back home to prepare for an ph.d interview. I had a headache and ended up having a meal and then falling asleep around 3 pm. I feel like Sailor Moon, which I hear is getting a reboot.

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I’ve been trying to adapt my sleep pattern so that my sleep is more effective. The idea is that the body doesn’t need to sleep for example 10 hours to make up for a lack of sleep, instead it will make sure that the hours of sleep you DO get is deeper and more re-energizing than normal. If you sleep 10 hours regularly, you will feel like you need 10 hours sleep to be energetic because your body has adapted to a less effective sleeping pattern, but if you start sleeping only 7-8 hours each night, the body will eventually adapt to that. I’m trying to change and care more about effective sleep than getting enough sleep time. I occasionally suffer from insomnia and worrying about not getting enough sleep just leads to a bad pattern where I can’t fall asleep because I’m frustrated about not sleeping, and when I do fall asleep I keep waking up to check the time. I’m hoping that by sleeping less, I will also get rid of my violent and disturbing dreams. That being said, can anything really replace the feeling of waking up, warm and cosy under a thick cover with sunlight streaming through the window after a rare 12-hour sleep? Mmmmmmm…

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Kitchen disaster 2.0

After yesterday’s cooking fiasco, I’m looking forward to cooking a simple pizza in our clean and smoke-free oven. What happened yesterday was that 1) We started cooking really late so both of us were starving. 2) Due to a miscommunication, both of us thought the other person had cleaned the oven, which led to the fire alarm going of again and us needing to switch plans and start boiling potatoes, which made the cooking take even longer. 3) When the potatoes finally were ready, I started making mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, as I was seasoning it, the entire lid of the black pepper container fell off. Even after throwing away the parts that had the thickest coating of black pepper, we were left with a bowl of GRAY mashed potatoes.

The pathetic bit is that the original plan was to make a fancy dinner out of veg. steaks with hasselback potatoes. Best laid plans of mice and men…

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These are all my (10) favourite things

1. Favourite pizza topping combination: Red onion slices, feta, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh ruccola.

2. Favourite poem: Invictus by William Ernest Henley or The Quiet World By Jeffrey McDaniel. I have a line from the latter written on a customized necklace from Monsterkookies. Necklace below (the poem bit is on the back):

3. Favourite junk food: Béarnaise sauce on everything! Especially french fries when I’m drunk.

4. Favourite feeling: The state between being awake and dreaming on a long morning after a pleasant dream.

5. Favourite household chore: Organizing everything, if that counts as a chore. If not, I quite like cleaning the kitchen.

6. Favourite flower: Ornamental cabbage, which I only found out about very recently.

7. Favourite physics theory: QM, closely followed by string theory and special relativity. My favourite wacky theory is the one that suggests that maybe we’re all made from the same subatomic particle that simply exists everywhere at the same time. I don’t claim to understand these theories, but they sure are fascinating.

8. Favourite comedian: Dylan Moran. Btw, I tried freezing red wine and licking it like an icicle and I really can’t recommend it.

9. Favourite weekend breakfast: Newly-baked white bread with French brie, a glass of orange juice with bits, coffee from a press, strawberry-rhubarb-passion fruit yoghurt and a soft-boiled egg.

10. Favourite list: The list of common misconceptions. I’m trying to memorize all of them and become the most annoying person to have a conversation with ever. Favourite pick from the list? “A duck’s quack actually does echo,although the echo may be difficult to hear for humans under some circumstances.”

Bedroom pizza + oven smoke

Something has ended up on the floor of the oven and I’m pretty sure I’m suffocating from all the smoke, while at the same time freezing from all the windows that are open. I just don’t get how what must be something like 1 ml of liquid can keep causing the oven to smoke for hours! We’re going to take our freshly baked smoky pizza and key lime pie into the bedroom now and eat it there.

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Game of Thrones-withdrawal

How mean is it that we have to wait until April for new episodes of Game of Thrones? All the other shows are coming back, but it’s still several months left for GOT. And how many years are left now until we will get the next book in the series?

I started reading the book series some 6 month before the first episode aired, and finished the latest book a few months ago. I think the book series is a very good example of fiction that isn’t in your face about what is good and what is bad, which characters and which actions are evil. I quite like that. The show doesn’t do as well in that regard, since the writers seem to think that they’re “fixing” characters, by having Cathlyn not hating Jon, Cersei showing more weakness and having Joffrey carry out what was one of Cersei’s most evil deeds in the books (ordering the murder of a newborn baby).

The fact that all the characters are all some deeper or lighter shade of grey in terms of morality and that it’s pretty clear that the society in which they live is extremely unfair makes me not understand the complaints that the books are sexist because of the patriarchal world the story takes place in. Sure, the characters live in a very sexist world, but it’s not like the characters (like Arya, Dany, Brienne and Cersei) doesn’t challenge the sexist views of the society around them. We also see in great detail how the female characters suffer because their lack of rights and respect. I’ve heard it said that GRRM should have been more clear in the books that this type of thinking is wrong, which goes back to the whole debate about whether you can depict something in art without rejecting or condoning it. I’ve never had an issue with that, and I think the unfairness of GRRM’s world is one of the things that makes the series interesting. You have people like the Boltons and the Lannisters getting away with mass-murder and heinous torture because they’re lords and rich, while the average citizen is left exposed and vulnerable for diseases, starvation, wars, kangaroo courts and pillage. Actually, going by GRRM’s frequent descriptions of burnt and savaged villages, I’m surprised the Seven Kingdoms have any “average citizens” left. I can see other reasons why some other things in the book series are sexist but I don’t understand people who find the book sexist just because of the way the world is.

The TV-show, however, is just silly when it comes to female characters, but I think that’s indisputable so it’s not as fun to talk about. Boobs, boobs everywhere, no dick, conversation over. Judging by the latest casting decision, which indicates they’re going to start a plotline that doesn’t start until later in the books, I wonder when they’re going to catch up to GRRM and what will happen then. Plus, the show is making changes to events and characters that might prove important later on. GRRM is a sneaky bastard. I’m planning a countdown when it’s a month left to the season opener. I’m pretty sure it’ll be disappointing but I know at least one wedding that I’m looking forward to. >;)

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Homemade ketchup recipe

Before Christmas, I made a bunch of ketchup based on a recipe that I tweaked. The recipe was enough for six 250ml glass bottles, so in total it should come up to ~1 – 1.5 litres of ketchup. The ketchup bottles was a part of our homemade Christmas hamper that we gave to friends and family, which also included a jar of homemade chilisauce and some delicious handcrafted pralines that Tom made. Unfortunatly, I didn’t take any good photos of it so I will have to make do with this cellphone photo.

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Most ketchup recipes require Worcester sauce, which contains fish. I wanted to make a vegetarian version, so I tweaked the recipe and added an apple:

Ingredients:

1 green apple

1 kg tomatoes

1 dl white wine vinegar

1 big yellow onion or two smaller ones.

4 cloves of garlic

250g brown sugar

2 tsps Cinnamon

2 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tsps Chili flakes

1 tblsp vegetable stock powder.

2 tblsp Soy

Salt

Instructions:

Parboil the tomatoes until the skin cracks. Put them immediately in cold water and peel off the skin. Chop up the tomatoes and put them in a big bowl. Slice the onion(s) and the garlic and fry in a big pan until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes and heat. Gut the apple and slice it finely and add it to the pan with the vinegar. Stir in the sugar bit by bit. Ground the mustard seeds in a mortar and add them to the pan together with the other herbs, spices, stock and soy. Let the contents simmer for around 30-40 minutes (or longer, depending on how juicy your tomatoes were and how thick you want your sauce). Blend the sauce with a mixer or a stick blender. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. I prefer a ketchup that isn’t completely smooth, but if you prefer your ketchup without any lumps, put it through a siv before pouring it into the bottles. If unopened, the bottles can be kept in normal temperature. If opened, keep in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Introducing your new TV-drama

“The home”.

An action-filled drama following the life in a care home in Britain. Bright, young Thea has just started her new job at a small care home for the elderly and soon finds out that everything is not as it seems. Are the frantic mumblings of the home’s oldest resident, Old Norah, just ramblings of a mad woman suffering from dementia, or do they hold the key to a dark, dark secret? The pleasantly confused lady Mia can never find her room by herself and is always walking in to other residents’ rooms. But one grey, stormy afternoon she walks into the shock of her life; on the floor in room 67 lies the bloody and cold body of senior carer Jane, with no clues to what have happened. Amidst mystery and murder, Thea and the other care assistants fight for time as resources grow smaller and the residents grow more aggressive. Suddenly, long, dull afternoons seems like a distant past as both carers and residents have to work together to stay alive…

I was a bit bored at work and played with the idea of an action/criminal drama based on a care home. To be on the safe side, I should point out that everything is fictional, blah blah, which I’m sure everyone understands. I think the second season would be called The Home: Specially Aggressive Unit because the different units definitely comes with different advantages and disadvantages. I haven’t decided whether it’s going to be a serious show or a satire of actual action/criminal dramas. I’m leaning towards the latter. OK, it’s never going to be a TV-show, but it would be fun to put together a fake trailer for it. I heard an elderly person say something today that seemed like it was taken straight out of a movie: “If you can’t see that you’re a bitch, you can’t see anything at all!“. Oh snap!

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