Miscellaneous

Us

One of the TV shows I have enjoyed lately is Vikings. It was a bit of dialogue in  season 4.02, episode 7 that inspired me to write this blog post. The episode title is The Great Army.

The dialogue is between Rollo, a brother of Ragnar (the main character) and Floki, a boat builder and Ragnar’s close friend. To give a bit of a background if you haven’t seen it: Rollo betrayed Ragnar and sided against his own people in a battle between the Vikings and the Franks. The Franks offered him a deal: help us defeat Ragnar and we give you some lands and the hand of our princess in marriage. Having always been a bit jealous of Ragnar, he accepted. However, years later, still feeling like a Viking, he joined Ragnar’s son Bjorn on his voyage to raid in the West Mediterranean sea.

The exchange happened on their way back north, as Rollo parted ways with them upon reaching Frankia.

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What is “us” is changing.

 

I thought it was strangely relevant, you know, with all this talk of immigration on both sides of the Atlantic.

Floki on the left, Rollo on the right.

Have a great week.

 

Indoors, Miscellaneous

Share Your World – January 23, 2017

Do you prefer juice or fruit?

Fruit. Apples, mostly.

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Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

Big and yes. Although it’s relative–the natives of New York or Tokyo or London would call it a village but it’s the largest city in the country and the capital.

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If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colours would you use?

All of them.

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Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.

  • weekends
  • warm slippers
  • woolly socks
  • comfy clothes
  • coffee
  • candles
  • cosy blankets
  • books
  • Netflix
  • music
  • walking in the park, with my camera
  • taking photos
  • certain black furry creature with four legs and claws

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I had my end-of-year review at work, which turned out great (though I suppose that means I should be grateful to myself for working hard in 2016). The 3 Million group, who are fighting for the rights of EU nationals in post-Brexit UK. And as ever, my family for being the absolute rocks they are.

So that’s this week. My first time doing Share Your World, I’m hoping to take part in many future ones.

Miscellaneous

Isaac Asimov Quoted

I thought I’d try a bit of experimenting with my blog. So I linked to an article that picked my interest, using Press This and hereby I share with you quotes from one of my favourite authors. In picture form.

via Isaac Asimov wrote almost 500 books in his lifetime—these are the six ways he did it — Quartz

I found the article thanks to a tweet by the @wordpressdotcom. Mentioning Isaac Asimov is sure to attract my attention, even though I only discovered his works about 4 years ago. (Well, I had been oblivious to many a cool thing until four-five years back.)  Apart from being a prolific writer, Asimov was a humanist, a liberal, argued in favour of women’s rights and gay rights. In an interview with Bill Moyers in 1988 he suggested a system of learning which would involve computers hooked up to large libraries where people could find information on any topic they wanted. Sounds familiar?

In the above article, Charles Chu breaks down Asimov incredible productivity into six points. My most favourite is the first one:

Never stop learning

I couldn’t possibly write the variety of books I manage to do out of the knowledge I had gained in school alone. I had to keep a program of self-education in process. My library of reference books grew and I found I had to sweat over them in my constant fear that I might misunderstand a point that to someone knowledgeable in the subject would be a ludicrously simple one.

I agree with this so much. I’m a college dropout but learning and knowledge have always been important to me. I like to know stuff. When I was younger, it was mostly humanities, especially history. I’d learned about atoms, protons, electrons and neutrons from a children’s encyclopedia way before we started physics classes at school, but I regret to say that the school system at home killed any interest in science I could have developed. It is what it is.

The following quote describes Isaac’s approach perfectly:

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It’s from an introduction of his short story collection Robot Dreams, where he basically calls himself stupid for getting it wrong about the rings of Saturn.

To be sure, no astronomer saw the truth about the rings in 1952, but what of that? An astronomer is only an astronomer and his vision is naturally limited. I am a science fiction writer and more is expected of me.

The story in question is The Martian Way–probably my most favourite in this collection and one of my most favourite ever. It just.. blew my mind how relevant it is today!

The remaining five points are also worth checking out, not just for writers but artists in general.

Before Star Trek’s Data, there was  R. Daneel Olivaw

In fact I imagine Daneel Olivaw looking like Data, except with red hair.

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The following is a speech by Elijah Baley to Daneel in the novel Caves of Steel:

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Ah yes, the Medievalists. Nostalgic optimism sufferers, as my brother calls them. The good old days. *Eyeroll* Flushing toilet was once a new invention, you know.

The robot stories were my introduction to Asimov and they’re absolute gems, a joy to read. A quote by a recurring character, the amazing robopsychologist Susan Calvin, from the short story Evidence:

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I get you, girlfriend.

Foundation

Probably his famous work, which I will not pretend to have read past the first book. And even that I got to know via audiobook (does that count as reading, I wonder?) I liked it so much I bought the trilogy on hardback, as the series is not available on Kindle. Makes no sense to me, considering the aforementioned interview. Anyway, I give you a piece of wisdom from Salvor Hardin:

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Someone definitely needs to give the publisher a big kick to make them release the series digitally. I do like my hardback edition though.

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Indoors

Colours for Blue Monday

The term Blue Monday was coined in 2005 and refers to the most depressing day of the year–usually third Monday in January. Well, in the Northern Hemisphere at least.

This idea has been dismissed by scientists and according to charity Mental Health UK, it’s been created to sell summer holidays. Quite likely, since Blue Monday was first mentioned in a press release by a travel company. Nevertheless, many people might be feeling very blue, so I thought I’d do a little colourful photoshoot.

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I know I have published beads and paperclips before, I just like colours, okay?

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One of the factors that supposedly contribute to Blue Monday is failed new year’s resolutions. But, isn’t it too soon to give up on them? The first month isn’t even over yet. There are 11 more months left. And whatever you have resolved to do, nobody says you should start on it on 1st (or 2nd) January. March is as good. Or April. Or June. I remember once reading some article which claimed that people would have more success if they set their resolutions in the beginning of September, as we still think of new academic year as the time to start something new. Certainly makes more sense to me that the middle of deep winter.

So, if you don’t think you’re doing well, please don’t throw in the towel.

{{{{{{warm hugs}}}}}}

Random and Weird Phone Shots

Random and Weird Phone Shots -Snow Today

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The morning of Friday 13th January at the tram stop. Some snow here.

I got so pessimistic about everything that I was shocked about trams actually running with no delays. Really.

UK doesn’t get that much snow so it takes little to cause disruptions.

Just yesterday I saw a page I follow on Facebook dedicated to old pictures of Bratislava, my home town, posting about the record snowfall of 1987–thirty years ago. I believe most of Europe suffered this extreme cold spell. I was only six then but remember bits of it. There were heaps of snow as tall as me and my mum had to walk to her workplace because the public transport wasn’t running. The great “snow calamity”, as we called it in former Czechoslovakia, was still talked about many years afterwards. People laugh when they reminisce about those days, but I’m sure it wasn’t funny then!

Some pictures from that time (just ignore the text).

Make sure you keep yourselves warm, peeps!

Outdoors

January…

A year ago I mentioned in this post that I got into a habit of taking a photo of a sunrise on the first working day of the year. I didn’t do it this year, a combination of forgetting to take my camera in the morning (this wasn’t an issue with compact, which I could carry in my everyday bag) and not good conditions for photography. Here are photos taken on the evening of 2nd January instead:

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I love how clear the skies are in cold weather.

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I just imagine myself aboard that plane off to somewhere warm–Copacabana beach in Rio, perhaps.

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So it’s 2017 at last and I got myself my own domain. I have also been amusing myself by working on an ultimate all-genre big fat playlist of the 90s. And I’m not joking about the all-genre part. This is where Nirvana meets Barbie Girl and metal shakes hands with eurodance. I will post a link once it’s ready.

Have a great year, everyone!