Favourite Friday: Body Hacks

How to swallow big pills more easily: Instead of tipping your head back (the most instinctive course of action for most of us) let it hang down after putting the pill in your mouth and taking a sip of water – the pill will sort of float on the water and find its way with less problems than usual. I had problems even with medium sized vitamin pills all of my life until I found this trick only recently! I haven’t tried it with the really big capsules yet, but I’m happy that I’m able to swallow some magnesium pills now!

Reduce motion sickness related symptoms like dizziness, breathlessness, and disorientation during plane take-offs and landings: Instead of looking straight ahead or out of the window, look up! Again a trick I found somewhere on the internet and tried it when travelling to Ireland; and it really helped. Not perfect, but much better than expected. If you want to look outside, do so only for short moments at a time. (Especially when we were inside or above the clouds already the perceived speed difference made me feel uncomfortable when looking out of the window for longer than a few seconds.)

… and there are many more body hacks on the internet; these two are just the ones that have helped me most with really annoying problems.


Favourite Friday: Alexander Rybak Songs

Another music post! Please enjoy my three favourite songs by Alexander Rybak.

“Into a Fantasy” – I didn’t even know about that one until it came up after I had watched “Roll With the Wind” on Wednesday, but I listened to it again and again, until I lost count (and started to watch other video snippets from the two “How to Train Your Dragon” movies, I really want to watch them now! After my thesis will be finishd, I guess.)


“Roll With the Wind” – the first of his songs I knew; it was the soundtrack for many of the cold but exciting days during my first semester at university, so far away from everything I knew, freedom gained and some things lost …


“Europe’s Skies” – I have to admit this is a really cheesy one, but living in Europe and thinking about moving to a different country on that continent (and Norway is on the list, most definitely) this song is somewhat meaningful for me.

Favourite Friday: inspirational capoeira videos

Recently I discovered some really cool and inspirational capoeira videos on YouTube, and I’d like to share my favourites with you.

“Girl on Fire”, the capoeira edition

She’s awesome, isn’t she?


Soul Capoeira: ground movement combination

This isn’t extraordinarily spectacular, but a great inspiration because I want to get better at playing close to the ground, so this nice little sequence is my goal for next year. Still working on a decent queda de rins, though … but seeing what can be done with it makes me keep trying.


More Soul Capoeira:

This guy reminds me of a dancing rain drop (especially with the music in this video) – his movements are so fluent, but slow and defined enough for the eyes to follow. Watching this video makes me fall in love with capoeira over and over again.


Last but not least: dancing with a chair


What’s your inspiration?


Favourite Friday: non-Irish bands playing Irish/Celtic music

I don’t know how and when it started, but for many years now I’ve been listening to Irish music, Celtic, medieval, folk …

Apart from real Irish bands there are some great groups from other countries. Let me present to you two of my favourite non-Irish Irish folk bands: Fiddler’s Green and Orthodox Celts.

Fiddler’s Green from Germany: Wikipedia says about them “Fiddler’s Green is a German band from Erlangen that plays independent Irish speedfolk, formed in 1990.” and “The band has kept up the mix of traditional Irish or Scottish songs and self-written tracks, though the self-written tracks have progressively become less and less folky.” So yeah, not that traditional, but in my opinion the influence of Irish folk is still present in their newer original songs. Some of my favourite songs by them are “Lannigan’s Ball” (very Dublin-centric and up-beat,  it makes me happy every time), “Yindy” (the original video is weird and the song a little dark, but great for those “f*** you world, I’ll keep dancing” moments), “Part of it” (one of my go-to songs for depressed days when I feel alone), and the beautiful ballad “Stay by my side”


Orthodox Celts from Serbia: they play a lot of traditional songs, sometimes putting their own spin on them (for example they sing “she’s the belle of the Belgrade city” instead of “Belfast city” in the song “I’ll tell me Ma”, which never fails to make me smile). Their quirky style is adorable, it’s so funny to watch the singer’s face during “Star of the County Down”.

Favourite Friday: things I did with my hands today

What I did with my hands today. It included plants on the roof, my guitar, and doing a handstand.

Repotting plants and weeding the roof: the sun was shining today and I felt drawn to the outside, so when I wanted to put my aloe vera into a bigger pot (because I had discovered a baby aloe plant crammed into a corner) I ended up weeding the roof with the help of an old stick – somehow there had grown some plants with stronger roots than anticipated from the flower seed mix I had thrown there with some old soil and they threatened the tar paper; and I don’t really want grass to grow on the roof either because the nutrients in the soil are supposed to go to next year’s flowers. So the two aloe vera plants have separate homes now, the old weedy stuff is bagged to rot in a corner of the roof, and the beautiful reddish amaranth plants have been relocated to an unused flower box so they can’t destroy the roof and I’ll be able to move them inside for the winter. I really enjoyed sitting there in the soft sunshine, touching the plants and soil with my bare hands, and using a simple stick instead of fancy tools to rake the weeds.

Putting new strings on my guitar: not exactly a favourite pastime of mine, but it’s a job that needs to be done every now and then – and the time was now as one string had snapped a week back – and as long as the strings are cooperative it’s a good time to calm down and think a bit (or just listen to music) while turning and turning the little knobs.

Standing on my hands: after months of trying today was the day I managed to get into a handstand (against the wall) without any help! In capoeira class we’re supposed to work with our own weight to strengthen our muscles, and one of our instructor’s favourite methods is bending and flexing arms/legs/waist (like doing crunches or sit-ups) while doing a handstand against the wall. The last few weeks I had been getting closer and closer to the wall, but always fell to the left side before touching it – really weird and nobody knows why – but today I was able to reach the wall twice and each time standing there for a moment on my hands. A very happy moment for me! Now I will be able to work on my strength the way the others do.


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 https://xkcd.com and http://geek-and-poke.com. 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.

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlNr-Vf9L2c

Educating myself on useless topics. I highly recommend following the source links at pages like www.omgfacts.com. 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: