Category Archives: Random

I just want to be who I’m not

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Sometimes, you just know. So when I saw Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd last year, with Her Royal Highness Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, I knew: this would be my Halloween costume.

My inspiration. Costume-wise, obviously.

Why yes, whilst everyone is still wishing each other a Happy New Year and desperately trying to hold on to resolutions they know they will not keep (case in point: my resolution to start writing again), I will write about a costume I made almost three months ago. What of it?

True to my increasing obsession with lowering my carbon footprint, I decided to haunt some thrift shops for the right clothes. The only problem with this plan was the fact that I did not know of any thrift shops here in Lund. A Facebook status and some helpful Swedish friends later, however, I had an address. And an e-mail from my dad, offering financial support since apparently I was short on cash if I needed to resort to… thát… . There’s a thin line between sweet concern and annoying mingling, and I’m still not sure on which side said e-mail belongs, but I have learned one thing: make sure you give enough information or people will draw unexpected conclusions.

A purple skirt, green t-shirt, and some textile dye later, my kitchen looked more or less like this:

You're not supposed to do this in food pans. It is not supposed to boil over, either.

 I have since made copious amounts of soup in that pot and I am still alive, so I’m guessing it wasn’t that bad after all, although I do think next time I try to dye something I will try to use the washing machine… .

It took me a massive amount of time to sow everything by hand (not aided in the slightest by my too-late realization that, while your wrist might fit when the end of the sleeve has a circumference of 14 cm, there is no way your fist will) and some help from above when I found a friend willing to lend me his corset (and no, I’m not mistaking pronouns here) to make everything come together. And even though my sleeve still ripped at the seem within half an hour and the likeness to the original is debatable, I still looked smashing, if I may say so myself.

I kind of got into the whole girly skirts/dresses thing after that, so although I was briefly tempted to cross-dress when the next costume party was announced (“Hollywood”), I decided to keep it classy, stylish and feminine. My high school prom dress was slightly taken in (which I’m only mentioning because it sounds nice, but in all honesty the thing was already baggy back when), and an hour and a half of YouTube tutorials and many frustrations later, this is how I turned out…

Guess who? (click for a hint)

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Locking love

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There is something about traveling by train that I find very relaxing – I can spend hours just looking out of the window, watching the landscapes change, getting little glimpses of the lives of people living close to the railway. And while I often say I take the plane as easily as I take a train (making a habit of long-distance relationships tends to have that effect), I still find flying much more stressful. Getting to the airport, checking in, security, boarding, getting out, hoping your luggage comes through, … I am never completely at ease until my bags and I have arrived at my destination. Obviously, taking the train can also cause stress, especially when you accidentally take a regional train instead of the direct train, reducing the transfer time from 32 minutes to… well, zero, but since that has never happened to me (eh…), and since I am pretty sure I would be lucky enough for the connection to be delayed by a minute allowing me to still catch it (I was born lucky, I swear), I would argue that is totally beside the point here.

When traveling by train you generally don’t get the nicest impression of the cities and towns you go through: back alley’s, abandoned cars and fridges and a lot of graffiti are most often among the highlights. Not so in Cologne, where you get a beautiful view of the Cathedral when you enter the train station, and you get to cross the Hohenzollern Bridge.

The Hohenzollernbrücke crossing the Rhein rive...

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t get easily impressed by bridges: Sweden is connected to Denmark by the Øresundsbron, a combined twin-track railway and dual carriageway bridge-tunnel almost 8 kms in length, and Cologne’s simple river-crossing construction almost appears plain and bland in comparison. There is however, something that the Hohenzollern bridge can boast, that only few other bridges can.

Padlocks.

More specifically, love padlocks.

Love padlocks at the Hohenzollernbrücke in Cologne

Image via Wikipedia

In the summer of 2008, these love locks have started to appear on the pedestrian bridge. Lovers, friends and families alike, affix locks to the metal grid of the bridge to symbolize their love for each other. I’ve only been able to see the multitude of locks from behind a train window, but here you can find several close-up pictures of individual locks, some of which have been engraved with the names of the lovers or were decorated by hand.

The phenomenon is not new, but has had a boost a few years back after the best-selling novel “I want you” by Federico Moccia (anyone read it? or even heard of it?) featured a couple young lovers doing just that at the Ponte Milvia in Rome. The craze spread quickly, and love locks now hang from bridges in Paris, Seoul, Moscow, and many other cities. They are not without controversy, however, since they are considered an ‘eyesore’ by many city officials. Only last week, the city of Venice decided on a massive clean-up campaign of the city’s bridges, including the Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte Rialto, because the rusting locks were damaging the age-old stones of the bridge.

To be fair, I think it’s cute – I’m a hopeless romantic and although I would never do it myself, there is something endearing about the idea of ‘locking your love’, on a bridge in particular, which by definition connects two places that were separated before. And while I understand the locks may actually damage the bridge and can thus be regarded as vandalism, there is always a middle way : in Rome special railings were erected when the lamp posts on the Ponte Milvia threatened to collapse under the weight of the padlocks. No doubt the street vendors selling padlocks and the many café’s that have recently opened in the neighborhood preferred this to a padlock-ban…

Dress-up party, you say?

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I’ve discovered something about myself, lately. I love doing crafts. Or rather: I would love to love doing crafts.

Let me explain.

See, I have this tendency to get jealous of certain types of people. That type of people that gets up at 5 or 6 am to work out before work, for example. I would love to be one of those people. That would be so cool, to be able to say “Oh, yeah, got up at 5, did 40 laps in the swimming pool, still had some time before work so I went for a short jog. Like, only an hour or so.”

Alas, while I have been able to keep up a three-times-a-week running schedule for the past month or so (and am pretty proud of that monumental achievement), I am not a morning person, let alone a morning athlete.

Or religious people. I get jealous of religious people. You know, the zen type, that has this quiet conviction that they have found their own ‘right path’. The type that puts the whole “love thy neighbor” into practice in this sickeningly good kind of way that it makes you feel bad for even existing. It seems so easy, to just have this book full of rules and you follow it and then you’re happy.

Only, I’m a scientist. (yes, I feel religion and science are largely mutually exclusive. but let’s keep that discussion for another time.)

And then, there’s those crafty people. Whenever I see people doing crafts -and it could be anything really, from making their own Christmas cards to making their own clothes- I can’t help but stare. Because it looks so cool. It looks so cool to be able to do that, to take something and just… make it into something else.

No need to clarify: I suck at it. I mean – I got the techniques: I can sow, I can knit, I can follow complicated origami protocols all you want. But let’s be honest here, that’s not being crafty. That’s not what I’m jealous of. What makes me look at all those crafty projects with sad, longing eyes, is the creativity. They take a flower pot and some paint and they make the perfect addition for their garden. I can copy-paste the process, but I can assure you it won’t look as good in MY garden (although that might be related to the fact I don’t actually have a garden. this, however, is besides the point).

But now, I’ve found something. A crafty thing in which I actually manage to be creative.

Dress-up parties.

Dress-up parties?

Glad you ask!

It started last year with Halloween, when I and some friends went to a Halloween party. It was only the second time I actually celebrated Halloween and deciding on a costume was a downright nightmare, but I finally settled on Pippi Longstocking. For those who missed the post back then, this is how it looked like:


I later heard I won the prize for best costume, but unfortunately never got it since I left early due to public transport dependency… .

Then, for an I-cannot-for-the-life-of-me-remember-which reason, our dearest and nearest friend Kim decided to give a “Pink Party”. While most people went pink wigs, pink dresses, pink nails, and even pink eye lashes (which, especially on the guys, was particularly interesting to view), I thought of P!nk, the singer, and with a fine black marker scribbled fake tattoos all over my body. It looked more or less like such:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left the full costume (P!nk wears something vaguely similar in the Family Portrait video) spiced up with a boa, headband and sunglasses for my unforgettable karaoke rendition of Katy Perry‘s “I kissed a girl”, on the right the only picture I have of 2 of my ‘tattoos’, my pink polished fingernails, and the lipstick I won for “Most original interpretation of the theme”. ‘T is my first lipstick, ever, I might add, so it was a very good prize.

The Pink Party was such a success that it was followed last week by a “Disco is not dead” housecooling party (or whatever the antonym for housewarming party is). The idea started with a cut-off pair of jeans, got fueled by a Google Image search and finally fired by the trash talk between all attendees of the party about their planned costumes and acts. So after 10 hours of searching, measuring, and sewing (by hand! I have missed Ts sewing machine terribly…), I arrived 1,5 hours late to the party looking like this:

And although you can see the boys made for some stiff (and colorful) competition, I received another costume prize (a gold wig. first ever, too. how they knew this, I’ll never figure it out).

I really feel like I’m on a roll here, so obviously, you can all guess what is on my mind these days…

… and for that matter, what will I?