Category Archives: Thoughts

Here’s a tidbit of truth that I realized today: I think I would be really bad at saving money if I wasn’t so picky. I think most things are ugly or useless, which keeps me from spending too much money. The things that I don’t find actively ugly, I usually find too bland and boring to buy.

Another reason why I don’t buy more than I do is that I don’t buy more than one of the same item, unless I have a VERY good reason to. I remember saying to a friend when we were in college that I was tired of dragging a suitcase of items back and forth from mum to dad every weekend and she asked “Why don’t you just keep one item of each at both their places?” and I don’t think it had ever occurred to me before. I think it led to me purchasing an extra alarm clock. This is the direct opposite from my boyfriend, who I often make fun of because he has like three kitchen spatulas, when I would probably be quite happy with just owning one spoon, one fork and one knife.

Reading that you might get the impression that I’m very frugal, which certainly isn’t the case. I’m not very good with money, I just know I would be even worse if my personality was different. I spend far too much on food and going to coffee houses, for example. Most of the clothes I do buy are a bit on the expensive side. I don’t buy high-fashion brands, but I buy shirts for somewhere between £20 – 50.

I don’t think I “get” fashion, I think high-fashion is the most ridiculous and absurd thing on the planet, and plenty of the designer brands out there are just awful. The worst brands I know is Marc Jacobs and Ed Hardy, but the latter is so universally hated and mocked that it’s not fun to make fun of them anymore. Marc Jacobs is in comparison inoffensive, but their jewellery looks like it belongs in H&M yet it costs ten times the price. I dislike Burberry’s plaited clothing and accessories, the other stuff is OK even though I hate preppy fashion on men (at least the trend with orange/red/green jeans).

I think the only thing more annoying than badly designed, but expensive brands is #normcore. I added a hashtag because it feels like it fits with the generally try-hard-ness of the term and the people who subscribe to it. So you basically dress as ugly as you possibly can and commit every fashion crime in the book; that’s just unfortunate, it’s not a fashion style! Or maybe that’s extreme normcore, since regular normcore is basically… just dressing really blandly like everybody else. But on purpose and for some special snowflake reason. Done ironically, it is at the very most mildy amusing, but more often just sad and offensive. Is this really the best next fashion trend that we can come up with, 2014?? Is it??

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A fashion rant + so #normcore! *vomits*

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I’m hoping I won’t get any phone calls today. I’ve had a cold for the last few days and just as I thought it was getting better, out of nowhere I develop a terribly sore throat and now I can’t speak. My boyfriend told me he would take care of me and fuss over me; that lasted two hours, then he started poking fun of me instead. Pffh, and I who was kind enough to do what I never do for him: I let him borrow my headphones. Sharing in-ear headphones is the worst, I hate to think about sticking someone else’s earwax into my ear.

Since I’ve been feeling unwell for a few days now, I’ve stayed inside and not done much. I have an urge to go shopping, but I don’t have the energy and it’s not wise financially, so I’ve sent out like 4-5 requests for free perfume samples. I know I’m probably going to be bombarded with commercials in my mailbox, but as we are not planning on living at this address for more than a few months, what’s the harm? I reaaaally hope they arrive in cute miniature bottles and not in crappy plastic bottles or a tiny wet-wipe package… but who cares, it’s free.

Being sick also means that I’ve been overly invested in gossip the last few days. I’m terribly amused that people are reacting so strongly to that quote from JK Rowling about how she might have changed Ron and Hermione’s relationship if she had written the books today and that she was limited by deciding the ending to the series early on. Which makes sense, since most relationships in the books were underdeveloped. I wouldn’t mind if none of main characters had any romantic storylines. But holy shit people are overreacting and screaming and arguing why Ron/Hermione was better than Harry/Hermione and so on. That was somewhat acceptable in 2007, when the series was on-going/had just ended and THE READERS WERE STILL MAINLY TEENAGERS. It’s somewhat ridiculous now, years later, when the people who were so invested in the books are in their twenties…

oops my voice is gone

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Sad clowns with giant balls

Who would have known that it was such a good combination?

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Yep, I went to see Slava’s Snowshow at South Bank Centre a couple of days ago. It’s a show that relies heavily on visual effects, audience interaction, humour and symbolism. It mixes dark themes with a good helping of comedy and it’s almost like Salvador Dali had a hand in designing the scenes. Despite that the story is pretty tragic, it seems to be very popular with children. Before explaining the story, I should point out that it’s a “mute” show. The characters sometimes speak in their made-up language, but the story is mostly told through body language and visual or musical symbolism.

The story follows a tragic clown, Slava, who in the beginning of the show is about to attempt suicide before he is interrupted. The way I interpret the rest of the show is that Slava meets someone who slowly makes him awake from his depression and start living again, but they have a falling out when Slava develops romantic feelings for his friend. His broken heart makes him spiral into depression once again. As he tries to get over his friend, he ends up triggering more feelings that ends up consuming him. This is depicted by Slava trying to clean away cobweb, but as he cleans, more and more cobweb comes out until Slava is stuck in it and it starts covering the entire audience. When the friend attempts to rekindle their friendship, they end up fighting and Slava says some very hurtful things that makes his friend go away for good. Wallowing in regret, Slava imagines himself apologizing and reconnecting with his friend, through playing out phone conversations and a very cool scene where he manipulates a coat on a coat hanger to act like his friend. During the latter scene, he finds the courage to let go and leave and that’s “kind of” where the show ends. I say kind of, because there’s actually two more scenes after that, but I’m not sure if they are a part of the story or just to give the show a great send-off. I guess you could interpret both scenes as separate alternative endings to the show.

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The first scene is Slava arriving somewhere after saying goodbye to his friend. It starts snowing and Fortuna starts playing in the background as a scared Slava gets stuck in a giant snowstorm. While everyone in the audience loved being bombared with fake snow (one of the only time I felt like I had an advantage because of my glasses. I didn’t have to shield my eyes from the fake snow like everyone else, so I got more out of the scene), the only interpretation I can think of is that Slava is in emotional turmoil and that he finally is overpowered by it or at least facing his biggest challenge yet.

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The other scene, which might just be the cast saying goodbye, is Slava and his friend reuniting and throwing giant balls out on the audience. When I say giant balls, I really mean GIANT balls. I think the biggest one must have been 5 metres (16 ft?) in diameter. That’s when the show officially ended and everyone in the audience started bouncing the balls through the hall and throwing fake snow at each other. It really got everyone going; parents were holding their toddlers up in the air to get a chance to touch the balls and elderly couples were throwing fake snow at each other. I’m surprised no one got hurt, because I saw several toddlers getting their face “smashed” by the big balls. But no, they just looked confused for a second, and then started laughing. I prefer this as the final scene, because I like happy endings.

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Anyhow, like I said above, the show is “mute” and a lot of the scenes are open to interpretation. Like Tom said, there probably isn’t a symbolic meaning to everything in it either. Some things are probably just there for comedy or because they look cool. I’m sticking with my interpretation of it and I haven’t read any other reviews of the show. It’s fun, dramatic, confusing and beautiful and even if my interpretation isn’t correct, I definitely recommend people to go see the show if they have a chance. Fair warning though, my floor at home was covered in fake snow for a few days afterwards.

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Airport and airplane hacks

I’ve become a pro at flying the last few years, especially with Ryan Air. My long-distance relationship was very bad for the enviroment in that way. I think RyanAir is great; they’re at least honest with their intentions and you get what you pay for. I don’t mind sitting through commercials if it means flying for like half the price compared to other companies. I got the idea on my flight home for the holidays to share my airport and airplane hacks that makes the experience of flying a bit easier. Enjoy!

* Always bring a set of earplugs if you’re flying with RyanAir.

* At some airports, like Stockholm Skavsta, you can get drinkable water from the water taps in the bathrooms after you’ve gone through Security. Some of the taps at Skavsta has been set to only have lukewarm water, but a couple of them have a little lever near the “root” of the tap that allows you to adjust water tempature. This means that you can get drinkable, free water to bring on the plane if you bring an empty water bottle when you pass through security (obviously you can’t bring in anything over 100ml so filling it before passing through security doesn’t work).

* Take the seats near the emergency exit to get some extra leg space.

* RyanAir has  recently changed their policy to be a little more lenient towards what you can bring on board. It’s still easy to end up with too much carry-on luggage, so if you don’t want to pay £40 extra because your bag is too heavy, you can try this: Wear all the clothes in your bag as you board the plane. Don’t be TOO obvious because people have been stopped because they were wearing like three set of jeans. No one will notice if you put on a pair of extra underwear, two shirts and an extra sweater, unless you’re sweating excessively.

* If that doesn’t do the trick and you still have too much carry-on luggage, you could try this slightly riskier move: Get a plastic bag and stuff it with the extra luggage. Carry the plastic bags like a baby and cover it with your coat. Now it will just look like you were warm and carrying your coat. You can’t stuff the plastic bag too full, or it will look weird, but it’s perfect when your bag is too heavy since you easily can conceal medium-sized heavy items. I got away with carrying on board a long tube containing two big art posters plus a bag of stuff stuff this way.

* If you’re checking in a bag: Turn up late and check in your bag last minute. That way your bag will turn up first on the rolling hoop once the plane has landed.

* If you don’t want to have to remove your shoes at security, don’t wear boots that reach past your ankles. It’s supposedly an unwritten policy at most airports.

* The following snacks and meals are good to bring on board because they don’t require heating and won’t go bad. They also won’t get confiscated in security (they could, however, get confiscated at passport/visa check once you arrive, so make sure to finish it on the plane): Pancakes with jam, sandwiches (duh), apples, chocolate, burritos, crisps.

* When booking a ticket, clear your cookies. I’m not sure if this one is true, but I’ve had a similar experience that makes me think it very well might be:

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I hope that makes flying a bit easier for you! I’m working on my “Airplane shuffle”, which is a German techno-styled dance based on the safety instructions on the back of the airplane seats. I’m sure it will be the dance of 2014.

And remember: Lights along the cabin aisle will illuminate in darkness and guide you to the nearest exit. Peace be with you.

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Hair today, gone tomorrow.

A snippet of the history of hair.

I’ve been thinking about hair recently. There’s a little story to behind every hairstyle I find, and it made me think about the social history of hair. Consider the Afro hairstyle for example; it used to be a marker of status and identity (maybe because it requires a lot of care?) in pre-colonial African societies and turned into an important symbol for black pride during the sixties in the US. The history of the Afro as a whole is really interesting and is something I think everyone should know something about.

Head-shaving as a punishment also has a place in the history of the Afro. Cutting or shaving off someone’s hair is interesting because while it seems like a odd punishment it makes a lot of sense when you think about what hair symbolized. When the slave ships came to Africa, the people who were taken as slaves had their hair shaved off as a way of dehumanize them (and avoid head lice). Head-shaving as a punishment (mainly for women) goes all the way back the bible:

Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head–it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. (NRSV,1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

It’s not a big surprise that head-shaving was a common punishment for women who were accused of committing adultery during the dark ages. In the previous season of American Horror Story, one of the characters got her hair cut off as a punishment for supposedly being a necrophiliac. I think photos of the public head-shaving of women during and after WW2 are one of the most telling depictions of hair as a symbol of social status and identity. That’s not even mentioning the incredibly fucked up logic behind shaving a woman’s head just because she stood accused of having relations or even just worked with Nazis.

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Something worth noting is that while some male “collaborators” had their head shaved, it was mostly women standing accused and punished by head-shaving. Shaving off a woman’s hair is undoubtedly different from shaving off a man’s head, which ties back to the bible quote posted above.

A woman’s hair was seen as a symbol of her femininity and beauty. Just think about the media reactions when Britney Spears shaved off her hair during her public breakdown. The famous bob cut, for example, isn’t just any hairstyle, but goes back a century to Irene Castle, whose short bob cut (and reactions that followed) played a role in the change in norms and attitudes against women in the 1920ies. Women were supposed to have long hair and men short; something that also caused a controversy when it became a fashion fad for men to grow out their hair. You would think that we would have moved on from that notion today, but just ask a few short-haired women about whether they have faced any prejudice due to their short hair and I’m sure most of them would say yes. A lot of (dumb) people still associate short hair on women with homosexuality, hatred of men and a lack of femininity. You would think people would know better in this day and age!

I’ve just mentioned a couple of hair related history snippets, but of course there is a whole lot more to be found for those that are interested. Dreads, the controversy of wearing veils, the business behind buying hair extensions made from Indian hair and different tribes that never cut their hair are all fascinating. If there was a book that just dealt with the history of hair, I would most likely buy it. If there isn’t, dibs on writing it.

Have a lovely evening, everyone!

Some links/sources if you want to read more:

http://abagond.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/black-womens-hair-a-brief-history-1400-1900/

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/05/women-victims-d-day-landings-second-world-war

http://iranian.com/Women/2003/May/Veil/p.html

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womensfitness

Lately, I’ve started exercising a bit more in hopes of getting rid of my dizziness due to low blood pressure and just in general achieving a lifestyle that will decrease my chances of various diseases as I get older. A little exercise is a big thing for me, because I find it tremendously boring. To motivate myself, I’ve tried to find a good routine that I can do from home and some motivational and educational photos and articles relating to exercise.

One thing that bothered me as I looked around was how the media seems to think that it’s more acceptable to show off unrealistically gorgeous, undressed and big breasted models that are toned instead of regular unrealistically gorgeous, undressed, big breasted skinny models. I guess the idea is that the toned models are supposed to be a “healthier” ideal for girls and women and therefore won’t cause as much body issues and is seen as less vain/objectifying…? It’s just the same thing with a different coat of paint. It’s still a woman with body type that a few of us can hope to achieve and puts far too much focus on becoming more attractive to men rather than improving your health, or god forbid, strength. Because don’t even start me on the ridiculous things I’ve heard about women who dare to gain more muscles than what is considered feminine.

In the end it all comes down to representing more body shapes and focusing more on health and sports. I think the obsession with beauty and the fixation on one specific body type is unhealthy for both genders. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, but something is clearly wrong when people worry far more about being attractive than their health or excellence. Holley Mangold is a good example of a woman who is physically strong and has excelled in sports but whose looks doesn’t conform to the ideal that is pushed at us, but it’s not her image or anyone that resemblance her that I find in articles about female fitness.

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So that’s my 2 cents. For those of you that are interested, here are two pages that I’ve used to put together my work-out routine.

The 10-minute Fat Blaster.

The Urban Jungle Work-out.

 

On excercise, health and unhealthy fixations.

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Tom and I had our 1½ year anniversary last Sunday. We didn’t have time to celebrate properly, and to be honest I’m not sure if either of us thinks half-year anniversaries automatically means celebration, but we decided to have a date tonight instead. The only catch is that, as people who knows us are well-aware of, we are in a long-distance relationship. Really long-distance. Different countries. I think that, despite the fact that it’s getting more and more common, a lot of people still think it is a bit outlandish. That’s why I wanted to make a post about “Skype dates”, both as fun information for those who have never been in a long-distance relationship and for those who are and want ideas.

Most of the people I’ve met seem to think that long-distance relationships in general are completely fine and not a big deal. The things that raise eyebrows is either when someone is in a long-distance relationship that started online and where the couple got together before they physically met. I can’t really speak for those couples, because I imagine it is slightly different. The second thing that strikes people as weird is the idea of “online dates”. I remember reading an article, just after me and Tom got together, about a guy who had “dinner on Skype” with his girlfriend. I told Tom and we both laughed about it and concluded “That must be pretty awkward”. I guess it is because the couple in the article went to such length to create the illusion that they were physically close when they clearly wasn’t. “How do you even have a Skype dinner?” I laughed and imagined a fancy table with a trillion pieces of cutlery and lit candles facing a computer screen.

Yet here I am, some year later, and I’m starting to find it hard to remember why I thought it was so odd back then. I think that to understand why people Skype date, you have to get to the bottom of why people in long-term relationship have dates at all. Why does a couple that sees each other everyday, who eats dinner together almost every night and share a flat together, still need to have evenings with candle-lit dinner or something equally cheesy? I really can’t answer that, but it seems like most of us have a need to have a special night every once in a while, where you have an excuse to say cheesy stuff, eat cheese, drink wine while eating cheese, and maybe surprise your other half with a gift (cheese, perhaps). The difference with normal dates are (obviously) that you can show your affection by stroking someone’s hair, giving them a peck on their cheek,  murmur something naughty into their ear. Those are all things that I miss when we are apart, but they’re not the only reason for dates. I want to talk and I want to do some activity together, because that gives me a sense of intimacy.

It doesn’t have to be a dinner. We have never cooked the same dish separately, then eaten it on cam. A popular date night on Skype consists of both of us buying a bottle of wine, getting take-out and getting a movie that we watch together. If the internet speed allows it, we watch the movie on our TV:s while keeping the webcam window open, so we can watch each other laugh, react or comment on things. Eventually you stop thinking about the computer screen. I think if given an alternative, no one would chose to have a date on Skype over having a date IRL, but in the meantime it isn’t half-bad. Kind of like low-fat ice-cream; It’s not AS good but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it and it does make your craving for actual ice-cream a bit easier to live with.

Tonight is comedy night, which means we have prepared for a marathon of comedy shows, like Psych and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Tom sent me a bit of cheddar and crackers in the mail last week, which I plan on eating tonight. I hope he will find my letter in his postbox when he gets home, because there’s something for him there too. It’s only 2 weeks until we will be together physically again, by the time we won’t have seen each other for 7 weeks. Somehow it doesn’t feel that long.

Oh, and if you’re still really unconvinced about this Skype date thing, I promise you there’s much weirder things you can do on Skype. I have a friend who met her boyfriend online while he lived in Edinburgh. Before they even met for the first time, they had a habit of taking their laptops in bed with them and leaving their webcams on while they slept, so the other could watch them sleep. I have such a crap computer that if I ever attempted to do that I would not be able to sleep from the sound of the fan and it would probably end up setting the bed on fire, but even if I did have a good enough computer I’m pretty sure that’s not for me… 😉

Skype dates: perhaps not as weird as you think

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