Favourite Friday: Conversations

My favourite kinds of conversations are the ones which do not involve too many people. One to three people apart from me are okay most of the time. I don’t really like scheduled conversations because they can feel pretty unnatural and awkward (especially when someone says they want to talk to me alone without telling me why), but recently I learned to enjoy meeting up with a person one on one for coffee or hot chocolate to talk about university and a little bit about life. If they are the ones to ask it is much more comfortable, because then I know they really want to spend time with me or maybe even get advise. I love deep, meaningful conversations that seem to come out of the blue, like the ones when after a visit the first round of good-byes is said, but you just keep talking and sit down on the floor in the hallway for another hour. Or the day we met a friend at the station and stood there for an hour in the middle of the night, walked home, and stood there on the street for some more time. I even enjoy university related small-talk when I run across a fellow student in a building and it feels good to just stand there for a moment and compare the classes we attend or our homework loads. I love conversations that make me feel better. Talking to a lot of people or being in a big group which tends to split up into two or three groups talking among themselves makes me feel tired and exhausted, but when I spent some time talking to a person I really like it can leave me with a feeling of being more alive, more interested in getting a project started, or just emotionally satisfied and truly happy. Conversations which make me feel close to a person, and give me the impression of catching a glimpse of their heart.

Favourite Friday: female rolemodels

Well, maybe not role-models in the strictest sense, but very inspiring in their courage and determination while still being very human.

Real-life women: Marie Curie. Amelia Earhart. Helen Keller. And maybe the two ladies I got to know in Person who took a difficult three-day trip on foot to find an ethnic group and study their language. I should include some great politicians or a suffragette … whatever. Malala Yousafzai is a really strong and inspirational girl.

Fictional characters: Sam Carter (yeah, I’m so predictable … but she was my first true rolemodel, minus the fact she is shooting people sometimes). Emma Peel (classy kickass lady, yet funny and playful). Hm, maybe Dana Scully as well (she kicks ass despite being on the short side, plus she’ very bright and not afraid of monsters in the dark).

I like looking up to the geeky gals :)

 

 

Ramblings about horoscope humbug …

… and a self-proclaimed astrologist who couldn’t figure out my zodiac sign.

First of all, I never believed in this weird “stellar constellations influence your love-life” crap. If scientists say they have empirical evidence that people born during the winter months are more likely to become depressed, well, that’s something different. And you don’t have to be a spiritualist to be kept awake by a full moon (take away that light, I want to sleep …). I’m not yet sure how big the influence of the lunar cycle on other things is. Apart from pulling the tides of course, I take that as given fact. When I was in Tanzania, the ocean always retracted late in the morning when we finally arrived at the beach, and it didn’t come back before the afternoon. Stupid moon. I enjoy looking up to the stars and trying to find the familiar constellations of the night sky I learned to name in my childhood. Hello Orion, old hunter, you are rising so high above the horizon, is winter already coming?

When I read this post by Fish of Gold, I remembered my two closest encounters with zodiacs and horoscopes. I tried to fit them into a comment, but I feel like telling the longer version as well.

1. Back in middle school we had to invent horoscopes in religious education. I guess they wanted to show us how random and unspecific the horoscopes in newspapers are so they fit a lot of people’s lives. We had quite a blast. Though not as much as that time when we had to invent new cults.

2. About three years ago when I still lived in a shared apartment with other university students, one of them went abroad for a while. So instead of said student a lady lived with us who laid tarot cards and had a strong belief in zodiac signs. She said she could tell which sign a person had by taking their temper, personality, whatever into account.

Well, she never could figure out my zodiac although we lived under the same roof for at least two months if I can recall. And we talked quite a bit (I can be a pretty outgoing person when I feel safe and somewhat comfortable with my opposite). One day I challenged here straight out to tell me what my she believed my zodiac sign was. She said she had been thinking about this for a while already and couldn’t come to a conclusion. It seemed to confuse her quite a bit.

I couldn’t help but say something along the lines of “yeah, you know, these signs don’t apply to me cause my boss is the boss of the universe and therefore above them.”

On a psychological level I guess horoscopes and and other zodiac related things are mostly a kind of self fulfilling prophecies.

That’s why I avoid reading horoscopes and the likes most of the time. If I don’t read them I can’t be unnerved by chance resemblances to my life, nor can they influence my behaviour. I don’t tell my date or month of birth to people who want to proof how I fit the properties associated with “my” zodiac sign. If they can’t figure it out for themselves, not my fault. See above.

What do you think?

more wedding photos …

More wedding photos can be found on our homepage www.hochzeit.hyfing.de. It’s mostly in German, but pictures are kind of a universal language :D

Please refrain from distributing these pictures elsewhere on the internet! Don’t email them to your friends. You can copy the URL of this blog entry (the very one you are reading at the moment, not the one of our homepage!) to show them.

Saving pictures on your own device for personal purpose like decorating your living room is fine.

Musings about dragons

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After the crazy cookie decorating session last week I started to wonder about dragons. Like, is it okay for a Christian to like dragons? Is there a possibility for our typical idea of dragons to be realistic in terms of anatomy? What would evolutionists have to say about dragons?

Well. Dragons seem to be some reptiles. Reptiles are nice, they exist. So if one thinks of dragons as a hypothetical species of lizards or such, then yes, it is totally okay to like them. I like chameleons and geckos, even some snakes with pretty colours, so why should it be bad to like dragons if they are just big, fancy lizards?

But then there is the problem with the anatomy of dragons. They are commonly portrayed with four legs and two wings. Birds and bats have two legs and two wings which – if you ask an evolutionist – used to be legs/arms as well. These creatures are called Chiroptera. I think that the good old Pteranodon falls into this category as well.  But dragons can’t be such as they still have all four legs. What else has wings? Insects. Insects have six legs. Some have six legs plus wings. Or four legs, two arms, and wings (like the praying mantis).

So if you look at it on an evolutionary base, dragons could be

a) originally six-legged, wingless insects which developed into four-legged insects, because one of their leg pair became wings. Oh, and they became very, very reptilian along their evolution. Basically insects which became Chiroptera and got themselves some leathery skin.

b) Something like winged cats. A species of lizards with weird mutations which eventually became fully functional. Wow, Darwin and his disciples would love this one. Sadly there is no proof for functional wings on cats. Though winged and flying cats would be fun.

c) something that just does not fit into the current mainstream view of phylogenetics.

d) purely fictive.

If you don’t want to accept that dragons are fictive, and if you happen to be an atheist, well, you might have to resort to believing that dragons are freaky insects . Yuck.

Okay, or they might be of extraterrestrial origin. As in Lizards from outer space. This might be explain why they breathe fire. They are not used to eating chilli peppers from earth.

If you want to go even further, there might have been some mad scientists who created saurian-bat-chimeras. Well, this would open a whole new set of questions. Is it possible to cross-breed them? (I guess the answer is “no”, as one is reptilian and the other one a cute, furry mammal.) Did they inject cells from a bat’s wing into a lizards back? Did someone cut off the wings of Pteranodons and create some Franken-saurians with an enormous lifespan?

And why does my spellcheck not know the word “Pteranodon”?

simple broccoli-and-pasta casserole

This is not going to turn into a home-making blog, I promise!

But I hope you’ll like my super simple recipe for a quick, tasty, and at least somewhat healthy casserole. And the best thing is, there are so little utensils and basic ingredients needed that it can be made even by poor students without a huge army of cooking pots ;)

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Utensils:

  • cooking pot which should hold enough water for the first three ingedients, lid is optional
  • ovenproof dish (I use glass casserole dishes)
  • colander (or whatever you want to call it, strainer, sieve … just make sure it has holes which are small enough to keep the pasta in!); this can be omitted if you use a lid on your pot and know how to strain water by tilting it.
  • a wooden spatula or a spoon will be helpful it you want to bake the casserole immediately after cooking the ingredients!
  • sharp knife, cutting mat or plate, optional: cheese grater
  • cooking plate and oven

Ingredients (for about 4 servings)

  • 500 g of pasta of your choice
  • 2/3 or a whole broccoli head
  • 1/2 to 2 carrots, depending on your liking for them
  • some salt, whatever spices you want
  • cheese of your choice and amount
  • recommended: butter (or other kind of edible grease) for the dish
  • optional: tomato, second kind of cheese (e.g. cream cheese), diced bacon

Instructions

If you grate the cheese yourself, you might want to do this first of all.  Pre-packed grated cheese would be another option. Usually I just cut the cheese into small pieces while the other stuff is boiling, because grating young Gouda is no fun.

Put pot with water on the cooking plate. While the water heats, wash carrot and broccoli. Peel the carrot and cut it into small pieces (I prefer half slices), then separate the broccoli into small florets. When the water boils, put in pasta, carrot pieces, and broccoli (yes, I boil them all together in one pot, it really works), add a little salt. Wait until it all boils well, then lower the heat a little and let it all cook for about 10 minutes. (If the instructions on your bag of pasta instead says 12 or 15 minutes, you should follow that instruction, of course.)

For easier cleaning afterwards, cover the inside of your casserole dish with a thin layer of butter (I just take the butter and rub it over the glass, works best when the dish is slightly warm). If you cut your cheese by hand, you might want to do it now. In case you want to top your casserole with tomato slices, slice your tomato now.

After boiling pasta and vegetables, strain it all in a colander. Mix with spatula. If you’re a passionate carnivore, you can add some diced bacon as well. Put the first layer of your mixture into the dish, then cover with some of the cheese. Repeat until you have some nice layers. If you want to, you can put your tomato slices on the last pasta-and-vegetable-layer before you finish it all off with an extra thick layer of cheese.

Put in the oven, bake for approximately 25 minutes at about 200°C.

Tadaa, some yummy casserole :)