Saturday, May 20, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Traditional Festivals

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Postcrossing card from Brasil, 2013 (BR-27063)
São Paolo – Carnaval – Sambódromo

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Postcrossing card from Taiwan, 2013 (TW-1047478)
Night Market

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Postcrossing card from Lithuania, 2015 (LT-439757)
Lithuanian folk dance with hats

Borås Summer Thursday
This card is one that I have sent to a few people in Postcrossing. It shows a summer evening concert in the main square in my own town. Thursday nights in the month of July = free public concerts in the square. The surrounding stores also keep open late on those nights. The main attraction, starting after the shops close, is usually some fairly well-known band or singer (preceded by opening acts by promising local talents). I have rarely attended these “late night” events myself. But in general they are popular with a lot of people.

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the weekend 38 – Traditional festival

Thursday, May 18, 2017

And Now It’s Green

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor, nature and water

Yesterday pink, today green! Warm winds and temperatures rising up above +25°C today suddenly brought out all the greens of summer. These tall birch trees line the driveway through an old cemetery close to where I live.

(A place where I often go for walk.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pretty in Pink

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Photos snapped with my mobile phone today in the Town Park. The cherry blossom trees in this park are of a kind that bloom a bit later than those in some of the other parks around town. I like that, because that means we get to enjoy lovely pink trees for a longer period of time…

I also couldn’t resist these lovely pink tulips covered in raindrops. The rain had stopped when I walked into town (after ten) but it was misty, humid, and very still. And the birds in the trees giving a joyful concert!

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Linking to:

Through My Lens

Outdoor Wednesday

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Down the Road

A week ago, last Saturday, there was an event in town in connection with the grand re-opening of a street that has been more or less dug up and in general disarray for a year or more, in connection with laying down new water pipes and whatnot.

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*Västerlånggatan, January 2017

Now the job has been finished at last, and besides new pipes under ground, we have a new visible water feature on the surface, in the shape of a narrow canal with running water and little basins with splashing fountains. The project has been much discussed along the way (couldn't the money have been spent on something more useful etc) – but whatever our opinions may be, it’s here now. And last weekend the Spring Sun joined in the opening celebrations and made it all look rather pleasant and cheerful and relaxing.

There were also peace offerings of free ice cream, festive brass music, balloons for the children, and (for some mysterious reason) a group of marching soldiers (or actors) dressed in 17th century uniforms.

(The expression “bread and circuses” comes to mind…)

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170506 Återinvigning Västerlånggatan, Karolinermarsch

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The main square is just a block away.

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Guess which drummer became everyone’s favourite? Winking smile

*Västerlånggatan: “West Long Street”.
We also have an East Long Street (Österlånggatan).

Linking to: Friday My Town: Down the Road

Friday, May 12, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Traditional Costumes

Zeeuwse Klederdracht

Zeeuwse klederdracht – Zeeland dress (NL)
(Zeeland = a province in south-west Netherlands)
(From Jarina in the Netherlands, May 2017)

I’m fascinated by the contrasts in these traditional costumes – the intricate lace headgear (reminding me of angels’ wings!) vs the clogs.

 

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Traditional costume worn by the Sami people (Laplanders) in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Postcrossing card from Finland, 2013 – FI-1798022

 

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Traditional costumes from Hallingdal, Norway.
Postcrossing card from Norway, 2014 – NO-103183

 

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Boys in folk costumes from Rättvik, Dalecarlia, Sweden
(A size A5 postcard by photographer Laila Durán; bought at a photo exhibition of her work that I visited back in 2013.)

 

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Traditional costumes from Moravia (CZ)
Postcrossing card from the Czech Republic, 2016 - CZ-858154

 

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Maiden costume from Arkhangelsk province, Russia, 18th century.
Postcrossing card from Russia, 2015 – RU-3443023

 

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Boating Maiko Girls, Kyoto
Postcrossing card from Japan, 2014 – JP-567064

 

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the weekend 37: Traditional costumes

Thursday, May 11, 2017

One Year of Duolingo

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A Duolingo post on Facebook today claims that
“You can learn as much in 34 hours of Duolingo as in one entire semester of university language classes.”
(According to an Effectiveness study from 2012
).

As I’ve been spending about an hour a day with Duolingo over the past year – does this mean that I can add twelve more university semesters to my CV? (I seriously doubt that, but couldn’t help suddenly feeling rather impressed with myself…)

Anyway, it is about a year ago now that I first got started with Duolingo, and it may be time for another progress summary – for my own memory rather than with intention to brag. (I have previously posted after six weeks, 100 days, and 8 months.)

My current Duo/multilingo status is as follows:

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Spanish – Level 20, 43% fluency (started in May 2016)

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Welsh – Level 13 (not yet finished; and no fluency will ever be achieved!) I first tried a few lessons last summer, but gave it up as being too difficult. However, I later picked it up again, and have managed to advance a bit. It is a very difficult language, though. For one thing, they don’t even seem to know themselves how to spell it! (For every word or expression there seems to be at least two different alternatives.) I don’t actually have all that many lessons left to get through now – but endless repetition will be needed if I shall ever get any of it to stick in my memory. (Why I would want to use my memory to store bits of Welsh remains a mystery even to myself. It’s just one of those things…)

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Turkish – Level 15. No fluency rating. I have advanced two levels since I finished guessing my way through the first round, though. (It’s a close call which is the most difficult, Turkish or Welsh. Probably Turkish, because there is even less to relate it to, in my brain.)

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French – Level 13. Continuing to use the Duolingo app for repetition of what once upon a time I learned in school, I have advanced from my initial 31% to 41%.

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German – Level 13, and mysteriously I have dropped from ~50% to 41% fluency. The more I learn, the more I forget?? (I’m afraid the Duo app only knows what goes on within the Duo app, though…)

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Netherlands (Dutch) – Level 14 (no fluency given).
Started in January and had worked my way through the Duo lessons before the end of April. Guessing at the meaning of written Dutch is not all that difficult when one already knows German, English and Swedish (or Danish, or Norwegian). Spelling & pronunciation on the other hand...!!! Alas there are no speaking exercises included in the Dutch Duo. (So far I’ve only found those in Spanish, French and German.)

Danish – Level 7 (6%). (Started just recently.)
Much the same kind of challenge for me as with Dutch. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have a lot of common ground. Swedes and Norwegians usually understand each other without much difficulty (each speaking our own language). Swedes and Danes – with a bit more effort… My only ambition is to add a bit further to my understanding.

Basically, I’m just doing it all for fun, and brain exercise…

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Introducing the new Queen

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…  the new queen of my study, that is … Winking smile

My old laptop, Bella, officially retired from public duties last weekend, and let her successor take the throne from May 1st. The new one’s name is Susie (she’s an ASUS). May she live a long and happy life!

In the photo, Susie is the dark rectangle in the middle (lid closed). The rest of what you see is her throne, royal court and humble servants. (Extra monitor, wireless keybord, various mice devices, scanner/printer and whatnots…)

Ex-queen Bella will be on (offline) standby for a while, in case further consultations should be needed. But we have decided that the time has come for her to “step back from royal duties that can involve extensive travel” (on the internet)…
(Quote from an article about Prince Philip) Winking smile

I kept a sort of diary of my progress (and failures) in setting up the new computer. Basically I tried to find and install software that I’ve become used to using on the old one. A new term I learned in this process was abandonware

… a product, typically software, ignored by its owner and manufacturer, and for which no support is available. [Wikipedia]

One such old servant that I really wanted to hold on to was Picasa (the main photo editor I’ve been using throughout my blogging life). It’s been abandoned by Google; but can still be found “out there” in cyberspace.

Another is MS Works (abandoned by Microsoft) which I’ve been using ever since the very first computer I had at work, way back in the early 1990s… Not much for word processing in later years (I’ve been using Open Office). But the Works database... For one thing, ever since the early 2000s I have been using it for a database list of all the books I read. (The advantage of a database being that you can search and sort it in lots of different ways.) And alas, there seems to be no free software to convert this to other database systems.

When I bought the previous computer (Bella), Works still came ‘free’ with the basic Windows software. I have also been able to still use it on Bella after the upgrade to Win 10. So I hadn’t expected this to be a problem on the new one either. But as it turned out, it wasn’t included on Susie… And my first attempts to install it from the web failed, and I just kept finding links that said that no, Microsoft has now abandoned Works, and Windows 10 does not accept it. So I was beginning to think I’d just have to print out a list on paper from Bella, and be content with that.

But then, suddenly, I discovered that somehow, one of my attempted downloads had actually installed itself – just not among other downloads, but as a fake extra DVD-unit. The laptop has a real DVD unit too; but in the file explorer, there were now two such units; with one of them containing the Works software. It still goes beyond my understanding exactly how this works. But it does; and neither Windows nor my antivirus program seems bothered by it. So I can only assume that “someone out there” has been very clever in finding a way around the installation problems… (Not sure from which site it was that I finally managed to install it. But heartfelt thanks to unknown benefactor!)

The reason I’m mentioning this is not so much that I think these are “must have” software for everyone; but more as an encouragement that if you fail on your first attempt to download something, it can be worth while trying again from another site.

Anyway. I think I have managed to track down the basic software that I’m used to. As for transferring old documents and photos etc from the old computer, I decided to copy them onto an extra hard drive first, and have only transferred the most recent and frequently used stuff to Susie yet. The plan is to take my time with the rest and sort things through and reorganize a bit. (Remains to be seen how that works out…)

Question to other photographers: How do you sort and store your pictures?? Can you find things when you need them?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend – Traditional Crafts

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Postcrossing card from Romania (RO-120653)
A 1st March tradition from Romania and Moldavia.
Giving this talisman to people is an old custom, and it is believed that the wearer will be strong and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. [Wikipedia]

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Postcrossing card from Finland (FI-2174953)
National dress from middle Finland (Savo)

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Postcrossing card from the Netherlands
(NL-2606813)
Handpainted watercolour made by the sender (2014),
depicting the costume of Volendam.

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Postcrossing card from Russia (RU-3060730)
Russian nesting doll "Matryoshka”

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A Swedish card that I bought some years ago at a glassworks museum in Limmared, Västergötland.
The glassworks was founded in 1740.

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A Swedish “Dalahäst” – Dalecarlian Horse.
Traditional carved, painted wooden horse from the Swedish province of Dalarna (Dalecarlia).
(A postcard that I sent to someone rather recently.)

Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 36: Traditional Craft Work

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring Is Sprung

In Sweden, we traditionally celebrate the arrival of spring on 30th April - Valborgsmässoafton / Walpurgis Night - with bonfires, choral singing and speeches. I did not personally attend any such celebration this year; but Spring seems to have been pleased enough with all the attention, and responded gracefully by giving us a beautiful first week of May.

1st May is Labour Day and a bank holiday here, and that afternoon I went for a walk into town, in search of signs of spring.

The early blossoming trees have been having a confusing time during April, with very shifting kinds of weather: some sunny days, but rather chilly winds, and several frosty nights. But they’re doing their best…

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The city’s gardeners have also been busy planting pansies and other spring flowers at the end of April. This plantation is found near the railway station.

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Some planting still going on – here, outside a restaurant

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A beautiful afternoon for people to just sit around outside and enjoy the sun again.

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Magnificent magnolia tree in the park

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Labour Day is a day for political demonstrations and meetings. This is from the Social Democrats meeting in the park; with our government minister for social security speaking here this year. (Our present government consists of the Social Democrats + the Green Party.) I hung around and listened to most of her speech; but not the whole meeting.

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Across the river from the Town Park there is a small park, now named after and dedicated to the memory of a former minister for foreign affairs (also a Social Democrat), Anna Lindh, who was tragically assassinated in 2003. 

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The monument in the park is entitled Non-Violence and was created in 2010 by Fredrik Reuterswärd.

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More cherry blossom trees on my way back home!

Linking to Friday My Town

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