Monday, November 25, 2013

Music Monday #37

At the moment my favorite song is Isaac by Bear's Den. I hadn't heard about them until recently. Unfortunately they don't have that many songs yet, otherwise I would listen to them for days.

Bear's Den - Isaac

Bear's Den - Pompeii

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm

While I was in Stockholm I visited many museums. The museum of Ethnography was my favorite by far. They had so many beautiful objects from places all around the world. It really made me want to see more of the world and I realised that there still are so much places I want to visit. Here are some of the photos I took. They're not great quality, but they will give you an impression.


My favorite part of the museum was The storage. It was just amazing to look at all those showcases that were chock full with foreign items. 

The Storage
an Ethnographic Treasury

It is easy to get lost amongst tinder pouches, monkey traps and poison arrows. There are 6,000 objects here, from all four corners of the world. By opening up the Storage, we cath a glimpse of the diversity and magic of our collections - a treasure-trove for the curious. Thousands of artefacts, stories from bygone eras and infinite inspiration for the future.

If you are ever in Stockholm, it is definitely worth the visit!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Skansen is an open-air museum on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm where they have old Scandinavian buildings. I had been there a couple of years ago and I went there again last october when I was in Stockholm.
To read more about my Stockholm adventure: Stockholm part 1 & Stockholm part 2.

In this post I just wanted to show some of photos that I took of the buildings in Skansen. Most of the buildings they have are Swedish, but they also have some old ones from Norway.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday #36

This is just the kind of music that I like... acoustic guitars, more than one singer (with voices that go together very well), a trumpet...

Of Monsters and Men - Dirty Paws

Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stockholm part 2

Here you can read the first post about my trip to Stockholm.

The second week I was there, I bought a Stockholm Card at the tourist centre and visited a lot of museums and I took a boat tour. The museums I went to were the Museum of biology, Museum of Ethnography, The Swedish history museum, Museum of Medieval stockholm, The Vasa museum, The museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Prince Eugen's Waldemarsudde, The Royal Armoury and the Aquaria Water museum. Furthermore I visited the open-air museum Skansen, the Butterfly house and SkyView. As you can see, it turned into a pretty cultural trip.

My personal highlights were the Musuem of Ethnography by far, and the Vasa Museum and Royal Armoury.

The royal armoury with it's beautiful clothes and armor.
I found the Museum of Biology not really interesting because of it's content, but rather because of the building itself. It looks like one of those old wooden Norwegian churches, eventhough it's built much later.

At SkyView you can go in a gondola to the top of the Ericsson globe arena, which is a very high building, from where can see the whole city.  
Some girl was kind enough to take a photo of me, and it's actually the only picture from my whole trip were I'm in. I'm always the photographer (and in this case I was even on a trip by myself), so I always end up having a lot of photos, but very few where I'm in myself. 

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities had a great collection of objects from Japan, China and Korea. Eversince I saw the movie The last samurai, I've been very interested in Japan and it's culture so I found looking around at the Japanese exhibiton particularly entertaining. The photos I took there turned out horrible, though.

The Royal Canal boat tour I took went around the island of Djurgården. I love that Stockholm has this little green island in the middle of the city. It is a great place to go for a walk and sometimes I just went there to sit by the water and write.

I had visited the Vasa museum before, but I went there for a second time. Usually I'm not really interested in boats, but the exhibitions at this museum are actually really interesting. It also help that they show a movie about the story of the Vasa and the ship itself is just incredible to see.

The train on the left is the one that I took every day to my Swedish class.

It is strange how when you are traveling you experience so much and then when you get back and everyone asks you about how it was all you manage to say is 'It was really nice' and you show your pictures. The stories about that place you went, that lives inside your head now, are so difficult to tell, because you can tell the stories but the feelings that go with them are something that you can not proparly transcribe.

I will do two more posts on Stockholm, one about The museum of Ethnography and the other about Skansen, because I want to show more than just one or two photos of them. They probably will be up on Tuesday and Friday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1984 by George Orwell


War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
I had expected quite a lot from this book. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. Eventhough the subject, a totalitarian regime, was very heavy the story seemed boring to me. Winston Smith was a pretty flat main character. That is something that I would be able to overlook because of the environment he lives in, but what really made the story a little boring was the fact that at some point Winston gets a book about the totalitarion regime he lives under and many chapters of 1984 consist of chapters from that book. If it had given me any new insights into how the system worked it could have been interesting, but it didn't tell me anything new. Also, in a non-fiction book I would expect to find this sort of information, but not in a novel. 

I'm not really sure why I felt about this book the way I do. It was clear that the setting was dystopian and a scary place to live, but somehow I didn't really feel that fear.

The only thing I appreciated about the book was the fact that the ending was really blurry because Winston had kind of lost his mind because of all the torturing.

Did you read the book? What did you think of it? Am I completely alone in my not liking the book?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stockholm part 1

Finally I had the time to write something about my two week trip to Stockholm. I was looking through my photos and I realised that I have so many! It's to much to show them all at once, so I'm going to do several posts.

During my time in Stockholm I stayed in The red boat hostel. The first week there were a lot of people from all around the world, which was a lot of fun. The second week there was mostly just one other guy in my room (although there was room for 10) who I didn't see very often so it was a little more lonely.

I stayed in the part of the city called Södermalm which has a lot of coffee bars and nice shops. Eventhough this used to be the area of the working class, there are a lot of beautiful large buildings.

The first week I spent mainly by walking around the city and getting lost. The amount of times that I lost track of where I was, was ridiculous. The picture to the right is of Gamla Stan, the old part of the city.

The first week I had Swedish lessons with another guy, the second week I had private lessons. The lessons took place outside the city centre, so I had to travel there everyday by metro and train. It's funny how easily you get used to a new rhythm of your life. I never really got up early, but during my stay in Stockholm I usually got up at 6:30/7:00. I have always been more of an evening person than a morning persons, but I would rather be a morning person so I was hoping to maintain this newly gained lifestyle, but as soon as I got home I got back into my old habits, haha.

Some more pictures of Gamla Stan.

During my first week I visited Nordiska Museet which is Sweden's largest museum of cultural history. I had been there before, but I still really liked it. The exibitons about the Sami and Swedish traditions were my favorite as well as the one about folk art.

Here are some pictures from their exibitions:

For more of Stockholm, come back next time! (I'm going to try to have the next post up on friday).

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

St. Martin's Day

Yesterday (11 november) it was St. Martin's Day (Sint-Maarten in the Netherlands). On that day children in my country go out as soon as it is dark with their paper lanterns and go door to door. They sings songs and get candy or fruit. When I was a kid we always used to carve pumpkins with the children in my street. My mum made pumpkin soup and after dinner we would go out with our carved or paper lanterns. It was always one of my favorite days of the year. I carved the pumpkin above two years ago. This year we were a little busy so we didn't really do anything related to Sint Maarten, except for buying candy for the kids, but most years I still carve a pumpkin and my mother still makes pumpkin soup (I don't go door to door anymore though, haha!).

Yesterday my mother had put all sorts of candy in a bowl along with some mandarins. I remembered how I as a kid always prefered candy over fruit, so I said to my mother 'Which child is going to pick a mandarin over candy?' But already with the second group of children that came to our house, my mother said: 'The miracle has happened, one of them took a mandarin'. I was sitting in the living room when the third group rang the doorbell. They sang their song and when my mom presented them the candy and the fruit, I could hear a couple of kids yell 'Mandarins!!' enthusiastically. That already surprised me, but then the children's mother said 'Ugh, we already have two weeks of mandarins'.
I don't know what it is with children and their parents these days, haha. Maybe it some sort of reverse psychology were the parents say they hate fruit and love candy so their kid wants fruit rather than candy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Music Monday #35

The past couple of days I had been a little stuck with my writing for Nanowrimo and I fell a little behind. Today I searched for some songs and they helped to get into my story again. With the help of these songs I easily wrote another 1500 words.

Peter Bradley Adams - Between us

The Head and the Heart - Another story

Friday, November 8, 2013

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

One of my favorite books as a teenager was 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Eventhough I loved that story I somehow never read another book of her again. Finally I stumbled upon Suite Scarlett in the library a couple of days ago. I was so curious to read another book of her that I picked it up.

Her new summer job comes with baggage.
Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings – Spencer, Lola, and Marlene.
When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest called Mrs. Amberson.
Scarlett doesn’t quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.

Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

The characters were almost all pretty likeable. The main character Scarlett Martin is a believable and nice girl. We learn enough about her interests and her feelings.
Her brother Spencer was one of my favorite characters. He knew very clearly what he wanted his future to look like and he was een funny guy who liked to cheer Scarlett up. I loved the little bond that the two of them shared. Lola and Marlene were a little less interesting, but the relationship they both had with Scarlett seemed like a very realistic realtionships between sisters. Marlene was a little annoying, but that was understandable. I liked that Scarlett fell out with her eventually, because it seemed like something someone really would do. Scarlett doesn't have a big development throughout the book, but in the end she does seem a little more independent and less afraid to take charge.
Scarlett's parents seemed a little absent throughout the story. Eventhough they have a hotel of their own where they work, it felt like they weren't around much. The kids had to help out a lot in the hotel, eventhough there were barely any guests. What were the parents doing all day if they weren't doing all those chores? That was the only part of the book that felt a little bit unrealistic.

This part contains some spoilers
At first I really liked Eric and he really did seem like the gentleman kind of guy, but further in the story I started to get a little anoyed with him. He was the one who made Scarlett lie to her brother and eventhough Scarlett was the one who did it, he was the one who suggested it. Also after Spencer found out what was going on between Eric and Scarlett, Eric became a coward and didn't want to talk to her in public anymore. Eventhough he said that he didn't want to cause problems for Scarlett, it felt more as though he himself wasn't ready to have their 'relationship' made public. Personally I wouldn't want to be with someone who wants to keep me a secret. Near the end of the book we find out that Eric indeed is hiding something. He was still in a relationship with someone else when he kissed Scarlett. I was already starting to hope that they would not end up togethere, so even if, because of the kind of open ending, it isn't sure that they will not end up together it's also not sure that they will, so I was satisfied with that. I would have loved the ending more though, if Scarlett would have shown a little bit more of her newly gained independence and just forgot about Eric.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween party

Last saturday Suzan and I had organised a halloween party for our friends. We had decorated the house and almost everyone had dressed up.

Credits for making up my face and making my hair blue go to Suzan. 
I don't know what it is, always when I wear make-up or something I'm like 'please don't cry, please don't cry' and then everything gets ten times as funny and I need to laugh so hard that I start to cry. Of course it happened again, and the black paint around my eyes followed my tears and left a trail. It actually suited my look this time, though!

Here are some pictures of our decorations;

 To the right (on the ground ) my homemade, fake, chopped off arm can be seen.

 We had collected a lot of bottles and jars to fill them with creepy stuff.

We decorated white fabric with red hands and splatters and used it as a table-cloth. In the back, to the right, you can see our headless bartender.