A dream of life and light

Washing the dust of centuries off my window I discovered anew the brilliant blueness of the sky, and I began to dream and dance, feeling the cluttered space called “home” is not big enough to hold the soul of a daydreamer and the grace of sunlight dancing tiptoed across a floor covered in dust-bunnies scared of brutally honest daylight.

At night I felt the darkness of the city closing in, not the darkness caused by the absence of light but rather the antonymic omnipresence of shallow light and screens  and neon signs leaving no place for the magic of stories told in the dark. So I filled a jar with colourful lights myself and put up a tiny cardboard sign, “here be fireflies”, and I danced to music nearly as old as myself and pretended the room was adjacent not to street lamps and rows upon rows of three-story houses but to open fields and grass covered paths leading to creaky doors hiding more rooms holding wonder and bold dreams instead of the plastic-shaped pieces of cheap and short-lived idols of these dreams.

For a moment I could believe that dancing and dreaming would be enough for creating one night of tidal waves sweeping away all the speechless artefacts of a culture with nothing new to tell, but when I opened the eyes of my inner child again, all the heaps of rubble covered in the blood of dying hearts had remained in streets wandered by screen-chained ghosts and surrounded by beauty robbed of attention and pure-minded admiration.

Still, every now and then I meet someone, most of the time a child, who is not yet oblivious to the magic of the beauty in between and who might be willing to learn the art of dreaming away the gangrenous layers of one-use happiness and purchasable instant status covering the fresh, green part of our society still pulsing with true hopes and a hunger for life stripped of needless weights and surrounded by open windows.

American Heritage – Popcorn!

Some quite a few days ago I wrote this post about a parcel I received. Today I’m going to reveal all the popcorny goodness I found inside :) (Sorry for the delay, by the way – I had a nasty cold so things tasted funny for a while.)

The reason for the parcel is that the American Heritage shops belong to the family of a friend, and she asked me to try the popcorn they sell (because I like popping fresh popcorn in a big cooking pot and putting in lots of salt or spices) and say how I like it. So this is me adversing their popcorn and of course the opening of their newest shop on 1st March 2014. The address is Levantehaus, Mönckebergstr. 7, 20095 Hamburg, Germany.

Anyway, back to the tasty subject of popcorn. Non-GMO. The brand’s name is “Fireworks Popcorn”.

Wow, I never knew there were so many different and colourful kinds of corn! Sure, I knew there were different kinds of white (African) and yellow (European) corn, but shades of blue and red are new to me. They look nice. The labels on the sample bags look nice, too. Each variety of popcorn comes with a label including a melodic name – referring to colour and taste – and a matching picture.

In the parcel I found:

Autumn Blaze: rather small grains; a mix of colours ranging from yellowish white to red and purple/blue

Baby White Rice: rather small, oblong grains without husk; white

High Mountain Midnight: blue with white tips

Orchard Blossom: pinkish with white tips

Red River Valley: big grains in a dark and intense shade of red

P1280288

I haven’t tried all of them yet, but today I got around to try two of them. As I don’t own a popcorn maker I just used a small cooking pot.

First was High Mountain Midnight, which popped fast and without pain. The result was big, fluffy yet somewhat crunchy and very white (partly even blueish) popcorn. According to the information card I found in the parcel as well, it was supposed to have a wild and strong flavour. I wouldn’t really call it wild, rather robust, reminding me of feta cheese, only without tasting like feta, do you know what I mean?  Whatever, his definitely isn’t your ordinary popcorn. It reminded me a little of rice as well – don’t ask me why. I found it to be tasty with both plain salt and onion-salt, as well as with barbecue spices. I think it would be amazing with cheese, but I don’t have any cheese at home right now. Oh, and it made me think of peanut butter. No clue if this would work, but it would be worth a try! I also tried it with sugar, maple syrup, and chocolate spread. The first two were okay-ish, while the last one just didn’t match. Other condiments I’d like to try with this variety are chilli sauce, garlic, or bacon. Maybe even marshmallows. The big size makes it easy to grab the individual popcorn…thingies (what are they called anyway?) and snack away on them.

The second variety I tried was Autumn Blaze. I had some trouble popping it – the small kernels tend to get burnt way faster than the big ones I had in the pot before. After popping it the thingies where rather small; and somehow many hadn’t opened at all. Maybe I used to much oil and drowned them? I guess in a good popcorn maker or with a little more practice they would pop without trouble. Just like described on the card they are a tad sweet and pretty crunchy. After popping they faintly smelled like roses or something similar. Aromatic autumn leaves maybe?I tried the same things as before. Spicy tastes did work, sugar was okay but not perfect. Maple syrup was good, but made it even more difficult to get a hold of these little buggers! Chocolate Spread was quite a nice match – I bet it would be worth a try to cover them in real chocolate to make crunchies. A sweet chilli sauce might be a nice match as well. And I’ll try to pop some with less oil next time!

Here’s a picture for comparison:

P1280391Left: High Mountain Midnight; right: Autumn Blaze (the red powder is barbecue spice)

Not included in the parcel was a sample of Black Hills, which – according to the card – is supposed to have black kernels and have buttery flavour . Another reason to attend the opening of the shop, I was told there will be lots of popcorn on that day!

See you on 1st March 2014!

— I’m not getting paid for this, at least not in money. Just said popcorn samples. —

green firefly lantern, red lantern plant

Today I came across this cool project http://www.instructables.com/id/Jar-of-Fireflies/all/?lang=de while looking for cheap electronic firefly jars. Sadly my skills are way below this level of creating awesomeness, so I decided to try a very simple version first (still with a little help), which is supposed to be upgraded by adding an ATtiny controller later (to make the LEDs blink/fade).

Basically it’s a mess of three big green LEDs, three resistors, some short pieces of wire, masking tape, and a battery case (holding three AA batteries) which is attached by a screw terminal. Instead of a jar I used a small metal lantern.

 

P1280307on top of the lantern: three resistors (90Ω each) and messy blobs of solder

Finally I managed to get the whole thing to light up and was very happy to hang it from our small living room tree:

P1280336LEDs sitting in a tree …

Yaaaay, green glowing stuff. But what to do with the red LEDs? Hm, maybe I could put one of them into this orange plant-thingy ..

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P1280362Success – a glowing plant thingy (what on earth is it called? Lantern plant?)

These are just two very small projects, but it’s been quite a while since I learned all this stuff in school, so I really need to ease my way back into it little by little.

 

 

 

 

 

Preview: American Heritage

Today’s mail contained not only a bunch of CDs (Roxette forever!), but also a “mysterious” parcel.

If you want to know why I received a packet full of popcorn and what it has to do with a shop by the name of “American Heritage” opening on 1st March 2014 in Hamburg, Germany – stay tuned! I’ll tell you about it in a couple of days ;)

P1280277Yummy, yummy popcorn on board!

songs and stories: Roxette

Ever since I started to listen to older music, watching science fiction, and reading tons of books, there has been a bunch of connections in my mind between certain songs, characters, and stories.

I decided to list some of the associations. Today I’ll let you take a peek into my head while I listen to Roxette:

Wish I could fly (Roxette): Animorphs books. The waking up from nightmares described in the song fits the struggles of the young folks and their fights to save the world. Plus it reminds me especially of the early Tobias and Rachel relationship (the model and the bird boy).

Joyride (Roxette): I don’t really know what it reminds me of, it’s more a concept than a certain person or storyline … maybe the glimpses of hope, joy, and love in the middle of the chaos. I’m a little into dystopia, in case you didn’t know. Or take TV series which have a serious undertone, but every now and then there are quirky episodes with running gags, weird conversations, or self-mockery. If you have watched The X-Files episodes like Humbug, War of the Coprophages, Jose Chung’s From outer Space, Unusual Suspects, or Detour, you know what I’m talking about. Not to mention the countless lines of fluffy banter in many episodes of Stargate: SG1 (“Space monkey!”).

Listen to Your Heart (Roxette): My leaving after gap year. One year in a small village surrounded by hills and new friends. Life is a story as well. Saying good-byes is a repeated element in this story.

Stars (Roxette): Stargate: SG1. Sam and Jack. And episodes like Grace. Heroes who keep getting separated and still either fight their way back to each other or wait for a long time. Aww. And I love this song, it’s pretty unique (and just pretty as well – though the video is a tad weird) and creates a nice atmosphere. I’m not yet sure if it fit’s the webcomic Salty Rain, but it might. There has to be a song for it! In addition this song is part of the soundtrack of my life story as well, my love for the stars, moving to a big city, so many dreams.

The Look (Roxette): First person associated: Sam Cater (Stargate). Wrong eye colour, I know. To me the song is about how a woman can be strong and confident while still being very human, be found as beautiful both inside and outside, and loving life, so it’s positive.

Roxette songs in general: Stargate: SG1 (early seasons).  Come on, it’s the late nineties. (I haven’t listened to the newer albums yet, but I ordered some of them today.)

A song I don’t really know where to place yet is Queen of Rain. It’s sad, but oh so beautiful. The video reminds me of many things, but I can’t name most of them. There’s the character Rika (Ruki) from Digimon Tamers (e.g. the scenes with the shadowy figure turning; and placing bets), the car scenes and hallways reminiscent of TXF, but I can’t place elements like  the billowing curtains/sheets. There’s something in the back of my mind. The Mists of Avalon? Maybe it just reminds me of one or two ending songs by Celtic Woman. There must be some book or movie I know involving lots of doors though. And somewhere in my mind the opening of the TV show Roswell is flashing pictures  as well.

Update: I think I found at least one of the missing associations – the Wired novels (and especially Exile) by phoenix-cry on deviantART (Stargate: SG1 fanfiction, but these are five complete novels with a lot of marvellous ideas and images); the setting of Exile is close to the imagery in the music video, at least in my mind.