two new photo posts …

… over at my photo blog :)

Photos taken at the hacker congress 30C3 in December 2013

Two pictures of Hamburg, one of the biggest cities in Germany


shoe shop stories

Somehow shoe shops and me don’t go along very well. Even more so when the people working in such a place are involved …

  • Most ladies’ wear departments don’t carry a big selection of shoes in my size and style, and this winter 99% of all high-shafted boots are too narrow for my legs … too much muscle on the calves. Le sigh. Don’t women do sports apart from yoga anymore? Come on, I’m not fat. Even less so my legs. Whatever. I tend to buy at least sneakers in the men’s wear section, they fit much better (so comfortable!), are of a higher quality and don’t come in the hippest colours only.  But shopping there makes shop assistants and other customers throw weird looks in my direction. They are a bit confused about the whereabouts of my male appendix, I suppose.
  • Recently I had Darling with me on a shoe shopping spree for a change. We both wanted leather sneakers for winter, so we met up after university/work in the evening. All things fine, he bought two pairs of shoes and I bought one, we paid but then – I noticed I was missing one of my woolen socks. And not any woolen sock, I was wearing very nice ones my mother knitted for me. So we rushed through the building again and again in search of it, upset a lot of shop assistants because they wanted to close the store, and I was a mess. Finally a lady found it next to an elevator … no clue how it had ended up there! Phew. I really hate shoe shops sometimes.
  • I had at least two encounters with shop assistants who insisted that leather can’t be waterproofed, even less with anything else than nano spray. Gore-tex all the way and so on. Le sigh. After a conversation with my mum I felt better, as she told me about how fishermen in former times used well oiled leather boots when standing in the water (as you may know, rubber boots haven’t been around for that many centuries in Europe). The artificial waterproofing sprays sold as THE waterproofing miracle don’t work well enough to justify the health risk they pose. So good old grease for me, please. Sadly they don’t sell it in most shoe shops anymore.
  • Shoe shop assistants can’t believe that I think a shoe with both laces and a zipper are kind of annoying and that I don’t want such a thing (they insist that is oh so practical to have a zipper – sure, but why the laces then? For Decoration? Oh come on, then sew them in place at least.)
  • Recently I went on with my quest boot quest (I’m still looking for high leather boots with a good grip sole and buckles instead of a zipper or laces) and had some time to idle away. Needless to say there was no such thing like a peaceful hour in the shoe shop I went to – because the shop assistant did not get the meaning of “I’m fine, thanks, just looking around, no need for help, thanks again.” She came back four or five times in about half an hour! Tried to convince me to buy something different and yada yada yada. Oh, come one, gal. Just leave me alone, will ya? I’m not very good with social rules, so I wasn’t sure if it would be okay to tell her that and remained polite and vague about the dislike for her hovering. Finally I escaped to the lower floor.
  • Today I finally carved in and settled for half-boots with a zipper. As they weren’t in a box (winter sale, hehe) I opted for carrying them home as they were. So I said  “I don’t need a plastic bag, thank you very much”, but one of the ladies at the check-out counter replied that she was going to wrap them in paper for me then. What? No, I don’t wanted the paper either. I live less then a walking distance of 15 minutes away, mind you. She looked very disoriented and tried to solve the puzzle. Very slowly she managed to say something like “Hm, okay … then … I just hand them to you now?” Yes please. At least her confusion kept her from trying to talk me into buying waterproofing agent :P

Favourite Friday: Places for studying

At home I prefer to study while lying on my belly on the (made!) bed. This way it’s easier for me to concentrate than when sitting at a desk. Not the best position for writing, of course, but that’s a different story.

At university I tend to sit o the floor in a hallway (with a nice, solid wall against my back) at the moment, but I plan to spend a big part of next semester on the low window sill (on top of a heater, and decorated with some potted plants, yay) in the library again.

In addition I like the wooden deck in the Japanese Garden, it’s nice for reading books on a spring day while listening to the koi splashing in the water under the deck.

Favourite Friday: web comics

I enjoy reading good books, but even when I don’t have time for that I try to keep up with my favourite web comics at least.

Headtrip is a funny comic series with several recurring characters and different story lines. The humour is a bit biting at times. Geeky, but not a lot of background knowledge required. I really like it :D No clue about the current scheduling of new comics, though. There used to be one. 

CAD has also several recurring casts and story lines. Sadly the main story line for which I loved reading it has ended, but there are other ones coming up now. New comics come out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Fisheye Placebo … amazing stuff. Put together great artistic talent and a questioning mind, and you get a nice view on the fight against a future surveillance state. It’s a work in progress and I’m desperately waiting for new chapters all the time! There is no schedule for posting, I think.!/series/episodes/347/1/asc

I’m not sure if Pull Down Heaven qualifies as a comic as there is next to no understandable speech in it. But it is really beautiful. There is a whole lot of pages online already. (I hope the link works. If not, please tell me, or just go to deviantART and search for it, it’s easy to find.)

Upcycling a chopstick

Today I tried for the first time in many weeks if my hair is long enough now for a bun held by a single, long hairpin. Victory! Finally I managed to do this bun: (the page is in German, but the pictures should be explanation enough) … held by a chopstick. Because I have no long hairpins as I’ve been wearing a braid held by two small hair ties for many months now.

Well, after half a day of running around on campus with a chopstick on the back of my head and getting stuck in my scarf and the hood of my jacket all the time I decided to make myself a shorter and nicer hairpin from this annoying stick.

I really like it now, so I decided to show you how to upcycle a random chopstick with nothing but sandpaper.

First of all you need a chopstick, needless to say. I used on of those you get for free with Asian take-out here.

P1280197Put it in your bun and decide how long you want it to be in the end. Then remove the excess of chopstick. I just stood on the tip of the stick and snapped it  carefully, but you could use a knife, a saw, or whatever of course. Take the part you want to use and smooth the new tip with sandpaper. I used very rough sandpaper I had around, but anything medium should work as well. Make sure you get something like a blunt but still pointed tip, or you won’t be able to shove it through your bun easily (I tried before using sandpaper, and it was not funny, I can tell you.) I decided to flatten it a little as well. It should look somewhat like this in the end:

P1280200Put it in your bun and wear it with pride :)

P1280192(Please ignore the heap of boxes, my family came over last weekend and we put all the random stuff lying around in the living room on darling’s desk. We really need to organize the wires and soldering station and all.)

I’m thinking about adding some colour at a later point – after sanding the whole thing down a little it should be possible to use the acrylics and the simple water based varnish already in my craft cupboard. Of course one could add ornaments by glueing things to the thicker end to make it look more elegant, but for the time being I like the simplicity of my version. Although I might shorten it a little more.