places I want to go (part 1)

I’ve waited a long time to go and visit Ireland again – this travel dream will come true in October. But there are other parts of the world I’d love to see one day.

The last few weeks I found myself wishing to see the Himalaya. Especially I’d like to travel to Nepal and/or Tibet and see what life there really is like outside hotel lounges. The roof of the world. It would be beyond awesome to travel that region a little with my camera at hand! (And preferably a dictionary or two in addition to that.)

Different continent, but it comes with mountains as well: Peru. I know at least two or three persons who’ve spent several years there; and I enjoyed the stories, pictures, and music they had brought back. And seeing Machu Picchu is a childhood dream of mine. Because, you know, mystic ancient cities. When I was young I could spend the better part of my school holidays poring over books or magazines on ancient cultures, scripts, and unsolved mysteries.

Were would you like to go if you had the time and money?

Favourite Friday: find of the week: Oakentoons

I spent the last few days looking at Hobbit and LoTR related stuff on the Internet, and I just wanted to share some awesome, adorable, and totally hilarious art with you. So without further ado: the “Oakentoon” series by PeckishOwl on deviantArt! And some funny stills that come with it.

And these are two of my favourites:


… and I wonder why the folks in Middle Earth never seem to get blisters from all the walking and fighting they do. Obviously I’m no hobbit – capoeira classes resumed after the summer holidays and now after the fourth training session I’m not really able to walk in a normal way – because I didn’t get the dirt and stuff off my feet before slipping into my shoes. Ouch.

Someone should make a ‘toon on the magic anti-blister ointments of various races in Middle Earth. Some folks walk barefoot all the time, some wear heavy boots, and some jump around in trees … them all having sound feet seems very unnatural oO


Favourite Friday: more intelligent pastimes

After last week’s confession of guilty pleasures it’s time to tell you I don’t spend all of my free time working on lowering my I.Q.

I like reading geeky/nerdy webcomics, for example and While I don’t understand everything I do learn new things on some days.

When looking up random topics I don’t stop at reading about the photosynthesis of sea slugs, but also educate myself on medical/psychological phenomena.

Thinking and talking about complicated stuff from TV shows. One of my favourites is the line “the mathematical progression of the harmonics in each given pattern relative to its spectral equivalent” (Daniel Jackson in the Stargate SG1 episode “The Sentinel”), which I still quote occasionally because it’s so awesome. Shows with science-y stuff generally make for great conversations. At the moment we watch a lot of “Lie to me”.

Saying lines from “Macbeth” or poems by heart from time to time so I won’t forget them. In school we had to learn poems and scenes by heart sometimes, and I truly enjoyed it. Still being able to recall the sad yet beautiful brief candle monologue and the first scene with the three witches after all these years feel very satisfying.

Watching TED talks. The TED channel on Youtube is one of my favourite sources of infotainment. I like infotainment.

I went shopping and came home with red hair dye and blue shoes.

Today I went shopping after handing in my last normal term paper – now I’ll have to start working on my master’s thesis soon – and having lunch at university. It’s been raining the last few days, the world is grey and depressing, so I longed for a little more colour in my life. Plus, I had been going through old photos last night and was surprised about the light shade of bronze my hair had been on the school trip (the one to Ireland) at the beginning of my last year of school. So I thought it would be cool to be a lighter redhead again instead of dying my hair in the dark, reddish-brown shade close to my original hair colour a few more years back*.

So my first makeover purchase today was all natural hair dye made from henna and other nice plants.


Normally I use a different brand (“Logona”, they are the only ones on the market here with sustainable certified organic cultivation of henna, to my knowledge) but the lighter shade of reddish-blonde I wanted to mix with natural red was not available in the local health food store where I usually get my dye. So I went to a drug store and bought my backup brand, Sante. My hair is pretty long now, so I need 1 1/2 packages at least. I just put everything in a jar, shake it well, and put as much of the powder mix as I need into the old cooking pot I use for mixing the paste.

Next stop: thrift store. Originally I had planned to try on skinny jeans (the two pairs I used to own had to leave my closet a few months ago, they just fell apart) and look for a winter coat. And to see if the lovely belt I had been ogling for a few days was still there. It was. What I came home with was this:

P1300534.resizedThe belt, a pair of  shabby skinny jeans, and two long sleeved shirts. The jeans are something between skinny jeans and jeggins, and I only took them with me because they were cheap enough to donate them if I don’t feel like wearing them more than a couple of times. And the blue shirts, well, they are in two shades of my favourite colour (we call it “petrol” over here, but it might be aqua or cerulean or whatever in other parts of the world), they match the belt, and as I said, I needed a little more colour in my life. For some years I’ve lived with long sleeves for layering in black, brown, and white, but at least two of the black ones are a little too short now. All in all I spent €10.30 (which equals $13.76) on the lot. Sadly I didn’t find a good winter coat yet, but then again, we still have late summer and they are just beginning to stock autumn clothes. Patience is essential for thrifting.

The last item on my list for today were shoes. The blue sneakers I had bought in spring are pretty worn already and will have to be replaced in autumn, so I decided to hit the summer sale in the outlet store within walking distance of my home instead of waiting until they break between sales and making me buy more expensive ones. The shoes I came home with aren’t exactly what I had planned to buy – I had envisioned simple leather sneakers in grey or a neutral dark blue with good grip – but these made me smile the instant I saw them:

P1300526.resizedAren’t they lovely? Leather in my favourite shade of blue (a little scraped, but hey, they were on sale!), with little star shaped cut-outs showing the neon yellow plastic layer beneath. So bright. And so perfectly me. You know, old me, the starry-eyed new student coming to live in a huge city for the first time, still secretly dreaming of becoming a juggler or a travelling peot. The one who went for a run at night in the deepest winter, in summer followed overgrown railway tracks for hours, and had a hair accident with really bright red henna from a cheap Turkish supermarket. I have missed old me recently**.

So here I am, with red hair dye setting in and ready to rock my new blue star shoes tomorrow when going with a friend to visit a university she might like to attend in the future.

In the meantime I’ll catch up with work (being able to work from home is really nice when sitting around with a towel turban and a messy blob of henna underneath) and maybe try to install Toolbox in Wine so I’ll be able to work with the data I’ll have to go through for my thesis.


* My hair is weird, you know? It keeps changing.  In my early life I was the lightest blonde you can imagine. Then it changed to a middle to dark  brown which had an ashen undertone and a tiny bit of reddish shine at the same time, which does not occur according to these online quizzes to find out your season type. (I still like the concept of season types for it’s helpfulness, but when a quiz starts with the “ashen” vs. “reddish” decision I’m lost.) Some years later it began to fade and now my natural hair colour is a nondescript mix of dark blonde, middle-to-light-ashen-reddish-brown, and a little bit of grey. Yes, I have more then ten grey hairs already. And they are not my main reason for buying hair dye.

** The last few months (or more than just a few, to be honest) had been full of too many long and nasty colds, being anxious about university related topics, and generally feeling a bit under the weather – many depressed days, feeling tired all the time due to a lack of essential vitamins and other nutrients (falling asleep for hours in the afternoon is NOT very “me”), and all these things. I sort of forgot who I used to be, or at least I didn’t feel like I could be old me ever again. I’m feeling much better now after I started taking better vitamin supplements, cutting down sugar, and spending more time outside with my camera again. When I worked on that stupid, stupid last term paper I even was able to pull three all-nighters – hence the star and moon pictures on my photo blog.

wishlist: books

Some books I’d like to own and either plan to buy for myself or have put on my birthday/Christmas wishlist already.

  • Seven Days That Divide The World” by John C. Lennox. I’ve already read one of his other books, “God’s Undertaker”, and was pretty impressed by the depth of his arguments. Not always the best exegesis but a lot of science.
  • Basic Linguistic Theory” by R.M.V. Dixon. I’m pursuing an academic career, enough said.
  • ESV Study Bible” (or something very similar) – I like their layout and the really well researched notes. More notes than original text on most pages? Check. So much better than all the odds and ends collecting dust in our small private theological library.
  • The Firefly Liberation” by Megan Madgwick (now M. Ramirez). Her collection of poems and short prose is not available as a book on demand anymore, but I won’t give up hope to find someone who knows someone willing to sell their used copy. If anyone out there is able to help me with that, you’d make me really happy.
  • Update: I’d like to add “Salt & Storm” by Kendall Kulper to my wishlist. YA literature. I’ve read a few sample pages by chance because they had a free booklet at the book store, and I really want to read the rest of the story. The book will appear in the last week of September.

One book I finally ordered yesterday is a used copy of “Dead Poets Society”, as I think the book might see a rise in interest in the near future and I preferred to get myself a copy while still cheap. I had watched the movie many years ago at school, and when I read Thoreau’s “Walden” last year I recognised the famous lines that had been quoted in the movie, recognised them after all these years, so I planned to read the book someday. Oh captain, my captain.

simple meal: mushy turmeric rice and peanut sauce

Again a “I’ll tell you what I made for lunch” post instead of posting a picture of it, I hope you don’t mind. This meal was mushy, sticky, and awesomely delicious. And it contained lots of dead cow. Moooooo.

Just for your information: I don’t own any American measuring cups so when I talk about spoons I mean the ones you use for eating! As a matter of fact I don’t even measure the water in any real way – I just use my gut and rely on experience with different substance:water ratios.

Still want to cook with me? Here we go.

You’ll need:

  • two cooking pots (at least one of them with a lid), spoons; recommended: second lid or something like a flat sieve (I think it’s called a “splatter guard”) to protect your kitchen from splashes.
  • water
  • 500g sieved tomatoes
  • 500g minced meat
  • rice
  • peanut paste (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2-1 1/2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2-1carrot
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder; onion salt, pepper, other spices to your liking

Chop garlic and carrot into very fine pieces. Put the meat and a little coconut oil into one of the pots; rice with salt and a little more water than you usually use into the other one (I normally use a rice:water ratio of 1:2.5, so today it was at least 1:3 and I added even more water later). Turn on the heat as far as possible, don’t forget to put a lid on the rice! Stir the meat and oil a little so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Set kitchen timer to 15 minutes (first round of checking the rice).

When the water of the rice begins to boil turn the heat for this pot down a little.

When the meat is starting to brown, add garlic, stir. Wait until all of the meat is at least somewhat brown, then add the sieved tomatoes and some water (tomatoes:water should be about 2:1). Add your chopped carrot, stir, and hurry to cover the pot  – you’ll want this to boil until at least 1/3 of the liquid is gone, which works best at full heat, which sadly makes hot red sticky stuff splash out of the pot, so a splatter guard is your best friend here.

After 15 minutes, check your rice. If close to all the water is gone but the rice is not the slightest bit mushy, add a little more. You can also add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to each of the pots now.

Let everything cook, check the rice every 5 minutes or so and add water until it has the desired consistency (for me this was “mushy sticky mess” today). Occasionally stir the sauce, and be careful with that splattering stuff.

I didn’t check the time, but I think I let the rice cook for 25 minutes and the sauce for 30 minutes. When both parts of your meal are ready, put them together in the bigger one of your two pots.

Add peanut paste to your liking. I had put aside about half of the food for freezing and used about two generous tablespoons for the remaining half, so 3-4 tablespoons for the whole amount would be good, I guess. If you don’t like peanuts just add a little or use your favourite non-peanutty spices instead (and why are you reading this recipe in the first place when there’s “peanut” in the title?) to turn the food into a weird version of pilau or something-masala.

Turn down the heat and stir that mush for just a few minutes. Enjoy!

Favourite Friday: guilty pleasures

How do I spend my time when I’m not studying, taking pictures, or playing capoeira? I’ll tell you some not very sophisticated favourite amusements of mine.

Reading fanfiction. Sometimes pretty trashy stuff, you know, like stupid sappy love stories or totally random humour. Whenever I start watching a new TV series I really like (even when re-watching it after years) I end up spending some evenings reading stories on topics like 200 ways in which Scully and Mulder try to annoy their boss, or Christmas celebrations on the starship Voyager. The only thing keeping me away from “Lie to me” fanfics at the moment is a combination of urgent university work and the fact that I already read most of the more interesting existing stories a while back.

Listening to a song several times in a row. Once I had one single song on repeat for well over an hour. At the moment I don’t mind listening to “I see fire” five times or more each day.

Listening to stupid songs and mix-ups. Like “Captain Jack” (the “The Mission” album is in my CD-player right now) or this one

Educating myself on useless topics. I highly recommend following the source links at pages like Did you know there is a species of sea slugs which is able to do photosynthesis?

Watching Tokyo Mew Mew in Japanese. I don’t even really like most episodes of the anime show (the mangas were better), but at least the English fan subtitles make more sense than the official dub. The opening and ending songs are pretty cool.

And of course I enjoy telling people to look up “German Sparkle Party” on Youtube.



Bonus video:

“china in your hand”

Recently I stumbled across the song “China In Your Hand” (T’Pau) again and for the first time learnt that it wasn’t actually about the country China (as I had believed when I was a child), but about a teacup and Frankenstein’s monster.

It’s harder to see the Frankenstein reference when listening to the popular single version, which was shortened with some of the more obvious parts left out. Some missing lines in the shorter version are

“And we could make the monster live again
Oh hands move and heart beat on
Now life will return in this electric storm”


“A story told
A mind of his own
An omen for our time”

If you put these back in (for the full lyrics of the album version you can go here: the picture gets much clearer.
And I was joking, well, semi-joking when I said it was about a teacup. I’m going to quote Wikipedia for this:

“The song’s lyrics refer to the novel Frankenstein and its author Mary Shelley.
This is more readily heard on the longer album version of the song, as the re-recorded single edit omits most of the more obvious references to the book.
Lyric writer Carol Decker explained that it is the effect that if you hold a china cup to a light, you can see your hand through it
– therefore ‘china in your hand’ means something that is transparent”

Teacups, monsters, Prometheus … whatever. It’s a really beautiful song.

silver bells for you

I want to weave silver bells, tiny, tinkling silver bells
into a bouquet of flowers for you to smile at
into strands of leather for you to wear
into rainy days for you to dance to
into my words and stories for you to dream of
I want to weave my silver bells into everything for you.



Inspired by a picture on a friends blog, my soft spot for tiny silver bells, and song lyrics about the rain playing tambourine I made up for a story.

don’t drink and starfish

P1300433.resizedHen party for a friend last weekend – I had the feeling my cocktail was missing something … viva la sunshine.

(The cocktail is a slightly experimental cosmopolitan, consisting mostly of juice, ice, and only a little vodka. I added the sun crisp before drinking more than a few sips of it, so yes, this is sober me having a random moment of childish amusement just for shit and giggles.)