Jack’s Walk

Tired pup ©voyager, all rights reserved

Rather than show you another photo of Jack swimming in the river, I thought I’d share Jack’s sleepy, after swimming face. I’m a bit excited about this picture because I can see that Bubbs is beginning to grow some hair. There, under his chin, you can see his neck ruff starting to fill in and also across his back just past his collar I can see it starting to get thicker. Don’t let that bare spot by his name tag fool you. That’s only from the clumping of being wet. It isn’t much extra hair yet because his collar still fits. Once it gets growing well, his collar will need to be loosened once or twice. There’s an inch or two’s difference between his summer fit and winter fit. Colder weather will be arriving tonight and I’m hopeful that a few weeks of chill will turn my boy into a hairy beast again. One thing I don’t like when Jack is in full fur is that he looks older. Without his thick ruff, he seems more puppy-like, even with the grey hair.

Poor Bubbs, he seems so serious when he’s tired.  Actually, he looks a bit fretful in almost every photo taken of him, which is odd because Jack isn’t a worrier. He very much lives in the moment with a calm personality and his no-fuss attitude is actually quite good at helping me find a calm, zen mind. Maybe he just doesn’t like to have his picture taken.

Swan Swam over the Lake: An Autumn Walk

Then local pond had some pokestops added, making it a much more attractive destination for an afternoon  walk (don’t judge). the fact that the woods are currently 90% mud further increased the attractiveness of the pond and its plastered walks. And it was nice taking the camera to something “new”. Sadly most of the sun was already gone because even sunshine apparently discriminates against working women.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

That fountain goes off once an hour. occasionally it shoots a bird out of the sky (or at least thoroughly confuses it).

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Swans are known to mate for life. Unfortunately, this swan’s partner didn’t know that and took off about three weeks ago.

Part two will follow tomorrow, when we find out if the swan swam over the lake (swim, swan, swim!).

Holidays: Sagrada Familia: I’m Sorry, I Broke It

Here’s the last pics from our night out. After that, Instead of walking back the short way to the train station we got off, the family voted to walk to the Plaza Catalunya and we got a bit lost on the way. We managed to catch the last train home which was kind of strange because you’d think that trains from the capital to the bigger cities around it would run through the night, especially on a Saturday, but shortly after midnight the train service ceases for the night. On that train I had one of the more frightening experiences. A young dude was standing in the aisle and suddenly took out a dagger style knife. I didn’t say a word, especially not to the tired kids and extra especially not to the dude so I wouldn’t catch his attention. He started “stabbing” the side of the train and I started to make plans in case of emergency, like putting my camera rucksack in front of my body and shifting my position to cover the kids.

Thankfully he then used his knife to cut off the top of a plastic bottle, took out some cheap wodka and lemonade and got even more drunk than he was before.

OK, back to the Sagrada Familia. I have no clue what happened here. I guess the light and the structure and the 2D nature of photography are playing a trick, because it definitely didn’t look like this, or I would have noticed.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Looking quite chill. A day of visitors and works done.

©Giliell, all rights reserved. Maybe a bit tipsy.

©Giliell, all rights reserved. The angle of the cranes is worrying me.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Ok, looks like I didn’t accidentally walk of out a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona and ended up in Pisa.

©Giliell, all rights reserved.

©Giliell, all rights reserved. Go home, you’re drunk.

 

 

Tummy Thursday: I’m Bored

And boredom leads to cake.

For the Pokémon Go Community Day last Saturday I made a black forest style cake. See if you can guess the theme of the decoration:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And then I decided to try Petit Fours for the first time, practising the flavours for Halloween (but not the design):

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Thin sponge with strawberry jam and pumpkin pie lemon curd (though it could use some additional lemon juice and a tad less cloves). Home made fondant glaze and teeny tiny fondant horn and ears.

 

 

Holidays: Sagrada Familia 6

These are the last pictures by daylight. Remember that we went there in  the evening especially so we could come back later to see it in the dark? Definitely worth it!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

 

Legal Fundraiser closed

Thank you all for participating in our efforts to help out our colleagues and friends. Voyager is the winner of the auction, let me know what you want me to create for you, my friend.

To all of you who have already donated: I hope to get your stuff mailed at the weekend, since our sorry excuse for a post office is only open during the morning…

The Art of Book Design: Pasakas

It’s Fairy Tale Saturday and this week we have a very special book that comes to us from our very own rq. It’s Latvian and a real departure from the fairy tales we’ve looked at so far. The pictures are very bold and some are darkly intriguing. I know you’ll enjoy it.

I don’t know Latvian so I’m including the publishing details in a photograph. I would surely botch it up if I tried to translate.

©rq, all rights reserved

I’ve attached photos of a classic Latvian family book – a large (perhaps THE) comprehensive compilation of Latvian folktales. Some are quintessentially Latvian, some are older than others, some resemble your well-known fairy-tales, and some are quite distinct and individual.

The artist is Pāvels Šenhofs, born 1924, died in 2011.

In any case, it’s a classic, and they don’t publish like they used to!

First, you have the book cover, which is a bit melodramatic.

Front cover, ©rq, all rights reserved

Back cover (with the price!) ©rq, all rights reserved

Then there is the fabric cover of the book itself-  how I knew it, as the copy we had when I was growing up did not have the cover anymore. It’s a dark green print on rough (almost canvas) textile, also the spine.

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

Then there is the inside covers, which are very traditional in style.

©rq, all rights reserved

Then some samples of the inside art: each story begins with an “illuminated” letter, drawn to look like it’s carved from wood, along with a distinctive introductory illustration, and most stories also have other line illustrations along the margins or at the end.

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

But the colour plates are simply fantastic. The stories are just as horrifyingly charming!

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

An extra picture for the antireligionists among us: the book has a whole series of stories about duping the local priest or pastor in a myriad of ways: as with German barons, if they’re not cast as the Devil himself, then they’re cast as the fool. And even the Devil can be tricked!

©rq, all rights reserved

Free Carola Rackete

I don’t know how big a story this is outside of Germany and Italy, but the Sea Watch III captain Carola Rackete has been detained by Italian authorities, facing up to 10 years in prison. Racktete is part of the civil sea rescue operations that safe migrants in the Mediterranean, because our collective governments have decided to simply let them all drown. Rackete had rescued over 40 people and Italy simply denied her access to their harbours (as did Malta) while other countries simply ignored her requests to access their harbours (France, I see you).

As the situation on board became worse and worse, with people threatening suicide, Rackete decided to land in Italy, despite warnings and bans ( you can read up the whole thing in English here). She has quickly turned into a symbol figure, not the least because the Italian fascist in charge, Salvini, has decided to make her an example and because she really, really gets to him, because we all know that nothing threatens a fascist dude more than a young woman who simply won’t know her place and who is standing up to him.

So please show your support to this brave woman by signing the petitions and/or by donating to her support fund.

#FreeCarolaRackete

Story of two Knives

This article contains an acute case of Opinions.

Let’s talk about two chef’s knives that currently reside in our household.

The black one is some cheapo crap that we got as a “bonus” back when Reader’s Digest was a thing and my mother had a subscription.
The blade is coated in Teflon and the handle is from some cheap plastic. The shiny one was moderately expensive. It is made from one piece of stainless steel, although judging by the mass the handle is hollow (I have no clue whatsoever what the manufacturing process was).

I like the cheap one. And I regret buying the expensive one. The cheap one cuts like a lightsaber. The expensive one sticks and twists and does not go through anything with ease, cutting onions or potatoes is a penance.

As far as I can ascertain with callipers, they both have nearly identical secondary bevels – the blade near the edge is circa 0,6-0,7 mm thick and the bevels are somewhere around 1,2-1,5 mm long. That means that the grind angle is for both blades between 11°-15°. They are both sharpened the same way. But they both behave and handle very differently, even when freshly sharpened.

Let’s start with the first thing – weight and point of balance. Both have nearly identical point of balance, near the heel of the blade, right in front of the hand. I personally prefer my kitchen knives balanced at the forefinger, but I do not mind the more forward put point of balance on the black knife, for one simple reason – the knife is very light, it weighs nearly nothing. The steel one is on the other hand heavy, and in combination with the forward put point of balance, it feels more like a chopper than like a knife.  But that is a personal preference thing – I do not like chef’s knives in general that much, and I do not actually need to use them all too often. Maybe they are all supposed to be weighed like that, I have no idea.

The second difference is, however, more objective. The black knife has a massive handle with cross-section more like a rounded rectangle than an oval. And it has a big flat spot on the spine right behind the blade. It looks chunky, but it is in fact very comfortable in the hand, the handle allows for firm grip and great edge alignment. And the flat spot is there for the thumb should you need to apply more pressure. The steel knife handle is very slick, very elegant looking. It is thin towards the blade and its crosssection is at all points nice and oval. But not only does that make edge alignment slightly more difficult, it also does not allow for a very strong grip. When tackling a difficult cabbage, a big chunk of heterogeneous material, the knife tends to slip and twist in the hand (especially when wet) and it is a struggle to keep the blade on track.

The third difference is the real clincher – blade geometry. The black knife has hollow ground primary bevels and the blade is a mere 1 mm thick at the spine. The shiny one has flat grind and is 2,7 mm thick at the spine – nearly three times more.

That kind of thickness is suitable for a heavy-duty camping knife, but in a kitchen it is a noticeable hindrance. When cutting small things, like herbs, carrots or similar, it is not a problem, but when cutting something bigger and/or harder, like a lemon, an onion or a potato, or something stickier like a sausage or hard cheese, the blade thickness makes the cutting more difficult, because it must push the hard material more to the sides.

Each of these problems in itself would not be a big problem but together they make a chef’s knife that is truly awful to use – it is supposed to be a universal knife, but instead it is a knife that is only universally problematic.

I guess the moral of this ramble is – when it comes to knives, cheap does not always mean bad and expensive does not always mean good.