Sunday, May 29, 2016

Surrealistic Textiles

Two Saturdays in a row I’ve been going for quite long walks, both with the Textile Fashion Center as my goal (or turning point!). This building is situated on the other side of the city centre from where I live. Besides the Textile Museum it also includes the Textile College, some of the town’s public sculptures and murals, and a café and a restaurant. 

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As I like the place, and have an annual pass to the museum, I often find it a good destination when I don’t know where to go. There’s also more than one way one can choose to walk (or take the bus) to get there and back again.

Just now there is an exhibition in the museum showing textile prints by famous artists from the 1950’s (and clothes made from those fabrics). The most famous probably Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol. I have to confess I did not know before that they also made textile patterns.

2016-05-21 Artist Textiles collage

 

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Salvador Dalí – Flower Ballet
(I liked this dress – it even looks comfortable!)

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Pablo Picasso

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Saul Steinberg – Arab Town

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Andy Warhol – Happy Butterfly Day

 

There was also a big screen with a couple of short films running, one showed Picasso at work, and the other Destino by Salvador Dali & Walt Disney. (Just checked YouTube and found them both there, so including the links here. I found them both rather mesmerizing to watch, even though not really my most favourite kind of art.)

Sharing with: Shadow Shot Sunday

Weekend Reflection

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In Sweden, the last Sunday in May is Mother’s Day. For me, the 26th of this month is also the anniversary of my mum’s death (seven years ago). And in Nature, too, it’s Forget-Me-Not time:

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Friday, May 27, 2016

A Walk around Jurassic Park

Today I had a somewhat unusual goal for my walk.
Going back in time, you might say…
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Sandra: ▲These two made me think of your Leonard and Lizzie… Slightly enlarged! (LOL) (Although in this case, it seemed to be “Lizzie” flashing her collar at her male companion...)▼

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It was really all much too artificial to be scary, until…

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… this one unexpectedly started walking around, tapping people on the shoulder! (You wouldn’t hear it coming up behind you, because of all the general background roaring and noise! Have to admit I felt lucky I saw it first – and even then I actually preferred to keep my distance!) Surprised smile CIMG8534-001

It’s a travelling expo, only in town for a few days… From the advert I think I had expected it to be a little bit more scientific and not quite as much “funfair”. Doubtful if it was really worth the entrance fee (~ $/£ 15 for grownups, 10 for children – for a whole family that could add up to a lot of money). Ah well… For me, certainly an experience “out of the ordinary”, anyway!

(And what doesn’t a blogger do to get a few photos… Winking smile)

Cheekily linking this post to Friday My Town/Rain and Thunder.
(It did not actually rain today; it was just cloudy. But there was a lot of fake lightning and thunder going on inside that tent…)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Outdoor Wednesday

At the beginning of this week, we had a couple of very warm days again, and Nature keeps exploding with new colours every day. Then there was thunder and lightning and for now it’s cooler again… But here are some collages of flowery photos from my walk on Monday (just around the old cemetery close to where I live) : Horse Chestnut tree, Lilacs and Azaleas.


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And things leaning against tree trunks:

2016-05-23 gravestone and tools

A very old headstone of unusual shape (and inscription impossible to read); and some brand new tools.

Sharing with Outdoor Wednesday and Through My Lens

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Learning Languages

Earlier this week, Janet of the blog MacQue mentioned the language learning website and app Duolingo.

I got curious, downloaded the app to my phone, and found myself spellbound… It’s a free app, with no annoying ads interrupting the flow – and it works a bit like a computer game, giving immediate feedback. I decided to try a bit of Spanish, and got totally captivated. This is only my third day, and they say I’m already 11% “fluent” …

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Even if I have my doubts about their definition of fluency, it certainly encourages one to go on... (If I can keep it up at this rate, I should be 100% fluent in a month, right??) (As if!)

Anyway, it is a rather amazing way of learning; which made me think back on previous language learning experiences.

By strange coincidence, I had already started planning this post when today I turned on the radio (as I often do when working in the kitchen) and there was a program discussing how learning more than one foreign language (English) seems to be on the decline in Sweden. Apparently (I have not been keeping up!) it is no longer mandatory to learn a second foreign language in school (as it was back in my day, in ‘junior high’). Neither the kids nor their parents seem to see the point any more. So while we’re getting better than ever at English (hearing it daily on TV and the internet), our knowledge of other languages is falling behind.

In my day, i.e. back in the mid 1960’s, English was introduced in 4th grade (age 10) here. In 7th grade, in addition to English, we got to choose between French and German. As my parents (growing up during WWII) weren’t fond of German, I was persuaded to choose French. (Not that I remember how much persuasion was needed.) As I liked languages, I wanted to go on in that direction in secondary school though, which meant a third foreign language then. The ones on the menu this time were German (or French, if you had started with German), Spanish or Russian. As it seemed German would probably be the most useful, that was now my choice. And while still in 9th grade (at age 15) I even decided to get a head start with a German correspondence course.

And that was what I got thinking of while trying out the Duolingo app now… The correspondence course in 1969/70 consisted of booklets with texts and exercises, sent by letter, one at a time, and accompanied by vinyl records the learn the pronunciation. If memory serves me right they were EP format, i.e. longer than singles, but shorter than LPs. I had a small travel gramophone in my room – the speaker was in the lid.

Exercises or tests were written down on paper, and sent back by letter for correction; and were returned corrected and graded. No oral exams, obviously… Mum may have helped me with the pronunciation too - I don’t really remember! But as she was born in 1930, her first foreign language must have been German. (That was only changed to English after WWII.)

Now you just click on an app on your phone, and it speaks to you, and you speak to it, or click on it, or type on it; and the app reads/ listens, and tells you immediately if you said it right, or if you misspelled something, or if you tend to forget a word it gives you extra exercises with that word.

On my first blog, The Island of the Voices (2009-10), I wrote a series of eight posts entitled About Me and Languages. You’ll find links to those old posts on the page About Me at the top of this blog. In #4 , for example, you can read about my experience when in the 2nd year of secondary school, Latin was added into my language mix, on top of English, French and German.

After my three years in secondary school, I had a gap year (working in an office in my home town), and after that went on to an 18 months secretarial education, including one term of English at university, and also special college courses in “business language”, in Swedish, English and German. (We could choose French or German, but I chose German over French, even though German was my 4th language.) We also learned stenography in all three languages. (No way I could manage stenography in German now… It’s been ages since I used it even in Swedish. But I did use it in all three languages in my first three years working as a secretary within the Swedish paper industry.)

I never went on with that autobiographical series. (Maybe some day I will. Who knows.) But to sum up briefly: After a few years working as a secretary I went back to University for more English, and German, and one term of history; and then also methodology and teaching practice, to become a teacher. And then I moved to the town where I still live now. But my teaching career was cut rather short because of lack of jobs in my combination of subjects; and after some stress related health problems, and because one still has to earn a living, I went back to secretarial work (with the advantage of  regular hours at least). Later also got six months additional education to qualify as a medical secretary. And remained working at the hospital (mainly for occupational therapists); until an accident (at work, but not really to do with my usual work) led to chronic pain problems and early retirement (over a decade ago now).

What revived my active interest in English was Harry Potter and the Internet. (Did you miss that book? haha) Seriously… Between the last two books in the series I got involved in a Harry Potter discussion forum (in English), which in turn revived my interest in the English classics, and book discussions in general. And when the Potter story had reached its end, I turned my eye to the Blog World… And here I am still, having made new friends all over the globe (yes, I mean YOU), and discussing all sorts of odds and ends. And along the way, besides books, there have been the joys of learning a bit about digital photo editing, and then there was Kindle (want to read an obscure old classic? just download it!), and Android devices and apps, and Postcrossing, and whatnot. And now Duolingo. Curious to learn a new language? No need to bother about evening classes or correspondence courses… The opportunity is just a click away! Amazing.

When I’ve learned ‘enough’ Spanish, perhaps I’ll try something even more daring – like Welsh! It was one of the suggestions that came up on top when I opened the app. I chose Spanish; but the very next day, this card dropped in through my letter-box, from a certain friend holidaying in Wales…

160513-160418 from John 176

Seriously. I’ve always been fascinated with Wales, and anything Celtic, ever since our family holidays in Britain back in the early 1970’s...  But for now, I say Buenas Noches.

Winking smile

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Balcony Life

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My faithful Clematis Alpina.
(Two plants blending together on the trellis on my balcony.)

Sharing with Outdoor Wednesday

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ferns and Fairies

In a recent blog post by Jesh St Germain I came across The Fairy Name Generator, and of course I had to try it. (If you’d like to have a go, you can now also find the generator in my sidebar.)

Letting the widget having a go with my blogging signature, this is what it came up with:

Get your own fairy name from the fairy name generator!

Your fairy name is Bracken Pepperwitch

She plays tricks on small children and old folk.
She lives where bracken and curling ferns grow.
She can only be seen in the enchanted moment
between sleep and waking.
She wears leafy bracken-green
and has autumnal brown wings, like a butterfly.

Must be true magic, because I had already got these recent photos of uncurling ferns waiting in a blog draft:

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These all grew quite close together on the same side of a little hill… Some just beginning to unfurl, others already opened out.

Sharing with Through My Lens

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shadow Shot Sunday - Tulips

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Sharing with Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Weekend Reflections

I seem perpetually unable to keep up lately…

Last weekend, spring decided to go straight on to summer, as fast as possible – unfolding every leaf and blossom, and making people rush to get their their summer clothes out of storage, and put the winter coats away. In the afternoons this week (until yesterday), we had temperatures around 25°C or more. (And on my balcony, in the afternoon sun, too hot to sit there, even with parasols up, some days.)

Three days in a row this week, on my morning walk I passed by this view over the river and the cherry blossom trees in the town park – noticing the colours growing more intense every day!

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Monday (9th May)

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Tuesday (10th May)

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Tuesday (10th May)

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Wednesday (11th May)

Yesterday, though, Spring suddenly thought to itself: What am I doing? – and decided to rewind… Not able to make the leaves on the trees fold up again (I think); but drew some clouds over the sun, and dropped the temperature down to 7°C or so today. So I’ve been rummaging for whatever warm sweaters I did not put into seasonal storage… even to wear indoors… and I certainly feel no wish at all today to sit down outside!

Weekend Reflections

Skywatch Friday

Friday My Town

Friday, May 6, 2016

Resurrection(s)

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The past week has been totally crazy on the technology front for me: One problem after another.

First it was my mobile phone. It went through a major update last Saturday. The day after it seemed to have come through it unharmed. Although, on second thought, it did seem to get hot rather quickly. But its condition must have got worse over night (while I slept, and assumed the phone was doing the same…). On Monday morning, when I tried to wake it up,  it complained about not being able to find the SIM-card; and it kept getting overheated and restarting itself spontaneously every few minutes. To force it to turn off completely I had to use a special hidden button to be pressed in by the end of a paperclip or something. (And to find that option, I first had to find and read the manual…)

So the next few days were spent trying to find info on what might be wrong and how one might try to fix it or if I would have to send it in somewhere, or… According to my mobile operator the SIM card was still valid, with both time and money left. I could have ordered a new card, but I wasn’t feeling at all sure that it was the card that was the problem. I found a computer app that might be used to repair the phone software, but before using that, I had to make sure I really knew all my relevant account settings; or I might end up in even bigger trouble than I already was.

This, in turn, made me realize what a mess of accounts and user names and passwords and email addresses and mobile phone numbers that have come to rule our (internet) lives… (Including the fact that some accounts want to use text messages for verification codes. Which may seem practical as long as the phone is working, and the number correct. But if not…) So made a promise to myself that if I got through the present troubles, then I’m going to do a major review of all my accounts try to get some better consistency into it all…

It wasn’t until Thursday morning that I felt ready and alert enough to finally let Xperia Companion have a go at repairing the phone. The operation went well, though. The patient was resurrected and all vital functions restored. Connection to the SIM-card re-established, and no more hot flushes and fainting. Most apps returned automatically as well. (It does involve a bit of manual “rehab” to restore various settings though.)

So I was happy for a while (a few hours!), and then felt encouraged by my success to also look into another problem. It was my ‘smart’ TV that had somehow disconnected itself from the internet, and now claimed it could not find it again. (Watching ordinary TV was ok though, so I put that problem aside while working on solving the more urgent phone issue.)

While I was looking for solutions to this, the TV told me to press a button on my router. So I did. Unfortunately I probably held the button down a bit longer than I was supposed to; with the result that the router was reset to default, and instead of connecting the TV, erased the whole home network and left all my other wifi devices without internet access as well… Except the PC (laptop), because I have that on cable in the study. (Which proved there was nothing wrong with the internet cable as such.)

I decided I needed  a night’s sleep before I tried resetting the router (as I also had to read up on how to – and make sure I knew the right settings, and so on and so forth)…

Right ho. This morning after breakfast I tackled the task, managed to find the required websites and and manuals and my notes from last time… moved the laptop to the living room, connected it to the router, managed to log in, supply the relevant data and so on, and recreated the network. All the devices happily reconnected themselves - except the TV…

Then, from somewhere at the back of my mind, I recalled that there is a restart function on the TV itself.  It’s been a while since I had to use it, so I hadn’t thought of it… It involves (surprise! – or rather, no surprise) holding down a button longer than usual… I did, and voilà. Another miracle. (TV reconnected immediately.)

Lesson learned: You really have to be very careful with how to press buttons. One second more or less may seem unimportant, but for a wifi appliance it may be a question of life or ‘death’…

Meanwhile, outdoors, nature seems to have successfully updated itself to Full Spring... Sunny, warm, and the birch trees exploding with pollen... (Achoo!) (Yes, I’m allergic.)

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