The Pale Blue Dot

So, I’ve got a bunch of new posts coming up for you!

Lately, I’ve been quite a bit of a space nerd, so I’ve been wandering the solar system and the discovered reaches of the great space that surrounds us. And frankly, feeling quite betrayed by teachers and schools that didn’t teach me near enough about our own solar system, I’ve been collecting facts and theories about our neighbouring planets and stars.

In the vast reaches of the universe we’re but a tiny little fragment of stardust, and since this is our world, our home and mysterious environment, how could I not be interested?

I will take the freedom to educate and update our knowledge about space, starting with our own solar system. I can’t help but think that you will be as amazed as I am by the information at hand.

Starting with the very middle of our own system, the Sun, I will try to bring the very most, interesting facts that I can muster to find.

Some of the posts may or may not be excluded due to lack of information or interest, so if there’s one post you specifically don’t want to miss, vote to show your interest!

All credit to NASA for the image. Earth from space, of course.

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Still alive!

I know, I’m sorry, I’m a terrible host.

I haven’t been feeling inspired or stubbed myself from not having anything interesting to share, or just not enough info about something that I was relatively happy about sharing. But then again, I don’t get paid to do this, do I? I do this for you, my spontaneous, probably-mostly-consisting-of-people-I-know-IRL, reader base. And of course you, my four little subscribers. Who are likely IRL friends of mine as well. Maybe even my mum.

I kind of deserve it. I wrote a grand total of 7 posts last year.

Anyhow, a bit of an update on my life; I know this probably isn’t whatever obscure reason you’re subscribed to see, but maybe a few of you actually find some interest in this!

So, a good while ago I was having a fight with a very old friend of mine, as you may remember if you read Hard Work, and we’ve made up! We get along quite nicely and I’m happy we’re back. People keep saying we’re like a couple, and we are. Except we don’t shag.

Well, I hope we’re going to be good to eachother for the rest of our days, because I positively hate having a piece of myself ripped out and then choosing to pretend that I don’t really need a liver or a kidney.

Other than that, I’m unemployed again. My old theatre job ended by September last year, and since then I’ve been playing the lute, and getting a forklift license. Which was kind of funny seeing as my coach and I talked about music and theatre and all (I know right, she should have helped me with that so I could become a waiter, right? Ha!), and moving abroad.

And I’ve been fucking up my sleep routine even more, and because of this I go to a doctor, who wasn’t very helpful and tried to get me hooked on some addictive anti-depressants although I stated that I was certainly not depressed.

And then there was Christmas, and New Years Eve.

Yeah, I’ve mostly been nerding about my lute lately. Like a boss. Maybe I’ll share once I get a computer with a better sound-shit-thingymajig.

Oh, speaking of which, my old, trusty computer finally gave up on me. Or well, the graphics card died. Old age, probably. I’m still in mourning. I’m currently on my mother’s old PC, which, is a generous donation as they were going to use it for media in my parents bedroom (suspicious, I know), but frankly. This computer is a piece of junk, much like my old one, although it’s been serving me faithfully since 2007.

With a lot of tweaking, you can play Fallout 3 on it. You can also play Minecraft. You cannot, however, play Skyrim. Or Amnesia. Penumbra; Overture works, but it looks like shit.

Oh, well that certainly brought you a lot of clues of my so, very, mysterious absence, didn’t it?

Here’s a picture to keep you all happy and interested, still looking good.

0079, out.

Manly, very manly.

Meteor showers!

It’s not about holes this time!

So, while I was up last night, or well, this morning, I went out on the balcony with Jessica. Usually we tend to see tiny, white, star-like floating objects which we’re not really sure what they are (I managed to film one a while back, maybe I’ll get it on the internet so someone can tell me what kind of a dummy I am for not realizing it was something like a plane), and this time we saw pretty many of them. I would try to explain it as some kind of aircraft, but they’re rather faint and tend to move rather quickly (faster than a plane) and over large areas of the sky before slowly fading away, and mostly their paths aren’t straight or so, but rather irregular.

Anyhow, that’s not really what I came on here to say. Most of you have heard of google maps, whether you’re a regular internet lurker or not, but there’s also Google Sky Maps, and I happen to have such a thing on my phone. What I really was trying to do was to confirm that this particularily bright object we’d spotted was in fact Uranus, but the app seemed to be mucking about a bit, however I did spot something just above Orion on the little screen.

I use this app quite frequently, but there was an entirely new icon which said “Orionids“, and I had absolutely no clue what it was.

Naturally I googled it.

And I found something quite astonishing. Not only have I an interest in fascinating sites on the surface of the planet, but I’m actually quite the space nerd as well.

I found that October is quite the month for watching meteor showers, and the Orionids are just that. You’ve likely heard about Holley’s Comet, it travels along it’s elliptical orbit around the sun and out towards the outer reaches of the solar system, a journey that takes 75,32 years. While close to the sun the heat releases gas and dust from the comet, and this is left behind as a trail of debris. Earth passes through this trail two times each year, and the debris entering the atmosphere causes shooting stars, or meteor showers. These occur in May and in October each year.

The showers start around October 2nd and carries on until November 11th, but peaks about October 19th to the 22nd. And you can see these meteor showers from anywhere on the planet.

They’re called Orionids simply because the radiant (the place in the sky where the meteors appear to originate from as you watch them from Earth) is between the constellations Orion and Gemini. While showers and the coming of comets around this time has been documented as early as 240 BC, it’s only recently (in 1705) that it’s been found that it’s actually the very same comet returning. The man who first discovered this was Edmund Halley, after whom the comet is named.

The last time Halley’s Comet passed by Earth was in 1986, and an armada of space probes were sent out to examine it more closely. The next time it will come passing by and once again become visible through the naked eye is in June 2062.

As the comet passed by in 1910 it caused a bit of mass hysteria as it was revealed through spectroscopy that the tail contained cyanide, and that the Earth was about to pass through it. Though the gas disperses fairly quickly and the low concentration of gas really didn't affect life on the planet at all.

What we can see of the meteors are really just them hitting the atmosphere and vaporising at 80 t0 120 km above ground, meteors that are big and/or compact enough to pass through the atmosphere and actually plunge into the surface of the planet are called meteorites, though I’m not sure if that has ever happened with debris from Halley’s comet.

Well, this year will be a so-so year for watching the meteor showers, as the moon will obscure a lot of the comets. But as well as a few comets you will also be able to see Mars somewhere about the constellation of Leo.

Aside from the Orionids though, you will also be able to see the Draconids on saturday evening (October 8th), usually this shower isn’t all too great, with only a few meteors per hour, but the canadian astronomer Paul Wiegert has predicted that this annual shower may actually turn into a meteor storm, with a thousand meteor visible per hour. It has happened before in 1933 and 1946, and also a few less impressive showers (still with hundreds of meteors per hour though) happened in 1952, 1985 and 1998.

In November there will also be Leonids (16th -18th), and Taurids (late October-early November). Specially the Leonids are known for causing huge meteor showers.

Orbit diagram for the inner solar system and Halley’s Comet; http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1P;orb=1;cov=0#orb

All pictures in this post came from wikipedia.

 

 

 

L’Empire de la Mort

As you may or may not know, I have a macabre side to myself. And hence, the long anticipated new post is very macabre.

The title “L’Empire de la Mort” is french “The Empire of the Dead”, and is part of an inscription over the entrance to the Catacombs of Paris. You’ve surely heard of it, the vast ossuary beneath the city in the old tunnels of the limestone quarry. Other than a final resting place for more than 6 million parisians, the tunnels have been used by the French resistance during the Second World War, as well as the Germans, who used part of the tunnels as a bunker. Not to mention bandits, sorcerers and urban explorers.

And I know what you’re thinking; “What, more holes? Seriously?” You should probably ask Freud what this all could mean.

Skulls and bones in rows and rows.

Anyhow, the first to mine limestone from this place were the Romans, in 60 B.C.E. However, they only used the limestone that was easily available in open air quarries. But in 1180 C.E; Philippe-Auguste was building ramparts outside the city to protect it, and since Paris was already taking place over the landscape, tunneling became the only way to get any limestone out of those mines. And it is doubtlessly a vast tunneling system that took form under his rule.

They kept digging around freely until the weight of the city eventually caved in on the hollow chambers underneath, and on April 4th in 1777, the Inspection Générale des Carrières was formed and sent down into the underground maze to reinforce, and close off the sections deemed too dangerous.

So when did they decide to fill the tunnels with bones? Well, in the 1800’s the parisian cemeteries were getting full. The corpses were piling up high. Cimetière des Innocents (Cemetery of the Innocents) held 30 generations of human remains by the ends of it’s use. On top of this families paid the priests to bury their relatives on the burial grounds close to the curches, and in the end the ground was swelled up 10 feet against the cemetery walls. Some walls even crumbled under the pressure and rotting bodies fell out into the streets. I’m not kidding. And they even had special little charnel houses built in the graveyards in order to stuff the bodies in there. The stench was likely horrid. And people started getting sick from the pestilence spread from the corpses.

This is when people decided to bother the dead and move the remains for the sake of the living. Seeing as disturbing the dead is considered a bit of a taboo in most places of the world (even though there’s actually, at the time of writing; October 3rd 2011, still certain places where you eat your dead relatives) this happened in long, black, silent processions during the night.

In 1785, you could in the dark of the night se wagons, covered in black cloth, filled with bones, pulled by horses walk the streets, accompanied by priests. This image tickles my macabre side greatly.

The moving of remains carried on until at least 1814, and the catacombs were even before then a tourist attraction (though not as frequently visited by people just wishing to see the sights as today). The first part of the tunnel to receive any bones was named; “Carrière de la Tombe Issoire”.

A sign, and more bones and skulls in rows and rows.

Throughout the catacombs there are signs marking where the bones came from, as well as the year they were set there, at least through the tour part of the tunnels, in other parts the bones are simply piled on top of eachother, and going through the passages forces you to crawl over bones and skulls from countless dead.

Official documents claim that the tunnels stretch out for 300 km (aside from the catacombs) but although I cannot confirm my sources I have heard that there’s far more.

Today, you can, as previously mentioned, take tours through parts of the catacombs, exploring the rest of the enormous system is illegal, but that, along with the risk of falling down seemingly endless shafts, getting lost, or just dying of pure fright down there just isn’t enough for some people.

August 23rd the police even found an underground cinema in the catacombs, put there by an urban explorer group called “La Mexicaine de Perforation” (The perforated Mexicans, called so after a bar called Le Mexico which the members frequent). Much like an underground amphitheatre with a fully functional cinema projector, telephones, internet access, a bar and restaurant, and even toilets. The entrance was hidden behind a sign which said there were some kind of construction going on, with a hidden camera taking pictures of whoever passed by, and a tape recorder playing the sound of a barking dog, to scare off intruders.

When the police returned to the location they found a note which said “Ne cherchez pas” – “Do not try to find us” or “Do not search”, and all the equipment had been removed as well.

A photographer who claimed to be close to the group said that it was a shame that the cinema was found, but it was not the end of the world. “There were plenty where that came from. […] You guys have no idea of what’s down there.”

And I get pretty damn curious to find out what lies there in the bowels of the Earth, in the underbelly of Paris.

However there are plenty of other underground tunnels under several other grand cities, but I shall try to regain focus of the actual theme of this post. Holes and bones, ossuaries.

Besides this huge complex of tunnels in paris, you have plenty of other ossuaries all over the world;

Capela dos Ossos, Èvora, Portugal.

Capuchin Crypt, Rome, Italy. (The only location in this post I have actually visited myself!)

Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy. The thing which differs this ossuary from the others is that the bodies in it are actually mummyfied. No, folks, this girl isn't alive, she's settled in for the neverending sleep. In 1920, this is a picture of her in 1955.

And finally, the Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic. In this ossuary the bones have been moved around over the ages, remodeled and refashioned into chandeliers and various other decorations.

Finally, some links to some pages which I found helpful or very interesting on the subject(s);

An article from Ghostvillage
– http://www.ghostvillage.com/legends/2003/legends28_10042003.shtml

An article from Parisloque
– http://www.parislogue.com/catacombs

An article on the underground cinema from the Guardian
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/08/filmnews.france

And another one from CBS News
– http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/27/world/main645876.shtml

As well as a little something from an urban explorer through National Geographic – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/travel/paris.html

All the pictures in this post came from http://www.wikimedia.org/ !

Hard work.

Hello, I know, I’ve been busy working, procrastinating, feeding social needs, and all kinds of things that could possibly have gotten in the way of me making any kind of post on this blog.

However, since I last wrote here, things have ended, and some things have ended twice, even.

I have had a friendship which has been good and bad, as of late mostly bad, at least for me. I have chosen to put it behind me and this is pretty much a letter to the past, and about the past by now. I don’t really want to make this complicated at all.

I have had a friend since I was very little, she’s been mentioned in this blog and everything, I don’t know how she felt about it but lately I could only think that I felt horribly used. I knew she was probably lonely and miserable in her previous home, and I was happy to visit and try to be of comfort, but it always ended badly, or just awkward. Me going home early or things just somehow turning into some awkward version of; “Oh, look at the time, I think you better go.”

And for some reason she would always get mad at me, and I wouldn’t even know why.

Lately we had quite a lot of fights, and I couldn’t quite weigh all the bad against the good anymore, so I decided I couldn’t talk or hang out with her anymore. It was stealing my energy, angry little comments or text messages would ruin my entire day, blog posts and facebook statuses directed at something having to do with her anger which I just couldn’t link together to see the whole picture.

And she always refused to talk about it.

One thing which confirmed to me that this friendship was just repeating itself in a pattern that was going me quite some damage, gave me the fuel to actually end this once and for all was a specific set of incidents, it’s quite disturbing that  we sometimes among these incidents managed to have a good time. Anyhow, first you need to know that two times, this being the second, I’ve attempted to stop talking to this friend of mine, kind of trying to single her out of my life in a way. It may sound harsh somehow but know that I did this because I’ve tried, so many times to talk about this, and I’ve tried to tell her how I feel about the situation, but there has really been no results as far as I’m concerned. We’ve fought and made up so many times, and it’s been bringing me down, so much for so long.

Anyhow, the first time I decided to leave it all alone, was shortly after we met up at one of our usual places, I’d been crying like a baby for most of the evening and I felt I needed to talk, so we went outside. I explained myself and tried to tell her what the matter was and she laughed.

I have said that I’ve forgiven her, and I’ve told myself I have, but I can’t let go of this entirely, because it really hurt me. I needed her to meet me halfway but, well. She laughed.

After that we had a fight about something and I decided not to talk to her anymore.

Later, we made up, even though I had told myself I wouldn’t, because I knew nothing would have changed, I would be treated the exact same way, she would be nice when I was needed in order to make her happy and dandy, and when I needed her in return, I would just get hurt. But despite knowing this we still made up, and I decided to give it one last try.

A few weeks later, she was in a similar position as I had been when I asked her to come outside with me, it was about a completely different thing, but the thing is that she was crying and she needed someone, and expected me to be there, which I was, maybe not to the extent she would have wanted since I had another friend coming over (who got to wait a few hours because I was trying to talk to my crying friend), and when she arrived the other went home, even though I invited her to stay.

I really couldn’t bring myself to send my other friend home over this, partly because I still had a bit of a burn since last time the tables were turned and she was laughing. But I took her problems seriously and tried to address some of the issues I found we had and how I was actually quite a busy person and just shutting up and then expecting me to be free anytime you call just doesn’t work.

Anyhow, things were alternatively turbulent and good since then and last month I got a message on my phone saying “Goodbye”, and I texted for an explanaition and then I started calling since she didn’t answer, and she refused to answer my calls as well. Rather worried about what the hell this little “Goodbye” meant I kept calling, and she would answer the phone and shout at me not to call before I got a chance to say anything and I left messages and getting quite agitated. In the end I gave up.

Decided to not talk to her again, I was working the next day, I couldn’t have those kind of things ruining my sleep so I gave up.

Later she told me that the message wasn’t meant for me, but if that was the case, maybe she could have tried to tell me so one of the 300 times I called.

I’ve told her before that she only let’s me exist in her life when she has a need for me, she doesn’t think so, or at least she doesn’t admit it. People tell me she’s not feeling too well lately.

Her feeling bad doesn’t give me any kind of satisfaction, I don’t want revenge, I don’t want her to suffer any kind of damage from me separating myself from her.

I don’t hate her.

It’s just that I can’t stand to be treated this way, again, and again, and again. This has been going on in similar patterns for years now, and I just don’t want to feel bad over something like this anymore. My only crime was caring, I don’t know if she’ll ever find a person who despite all the crap she and I have both been through can say that I only wish her happiness. I honestly wish her nothing else than a long, happy life.

If the day would come when she would like to treat me as a friend, and not a ragdoll that she can just toss away whenever she doesn’t want to play with it (and that is sincerely how I feel I’ve been treated) then she is welcome back into my life.

But right now I don’t believe that this will happen anytime soon, I’ve been through this too many times.

And with this I put this whole thing behind me. I would never have thought a few months ago that I could live without her, but I have found other friends as well, I’m doing good, and I’m happy now. I hope she is too.

This is just a final word about it, I speak my mind, if she feels she needs the explanaition, then maybe she will find it here. I miss the good times, but what can I do.

I could never wish you anything else than happiness.

I did not throw you away because I was done with you, I let you go because my hands were breaking from holding the rope.

 

Another bunch of books.

You’ve all been waiting for it, and it’s finally here. Another batch of four books that I will recommend to you, this time with pictures that aren’t entirely unrelated, oh no, quite the opposite.

Here we go, ladies and gents;

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – A big, black book written by Susanna Clarke. This is a book I’ve tried to convince a good few of my friends to read, quite a few times. I’ve even bought it for some of them, but they just don’t get into it. Maybe it’s because it looks rather dark and ominous, quite an intimidating book. Judging by the cover it appears to be a troublesome an long read. In all honesty I haven’t met a single swede who have actually read this book, and it’s not very well-known here. But it is certainly a very nice read. Long, yes, but enjoyable all the way. When most people say magic nowadays, we think of fireballs and great, flashing lights. Or Harry Potter. This book is very much magic, and very much english, but it’s nothing like the more famous boy-who-lived, the magic is portrayed in a very realistic way, so to speak. I know magic doesn’t exist and thus can’t be realistic, but the thing is that it’s not flashy, and it’s not fancy, it’s just very believeable, and the whole book just smells like good old, english common sense.
Listen, it might be hard to chew throught the first bunch of pages, but once you get into this book you’ll fall in love with it. It’s been a while since I read it now, so I wont be going speaking much about the story in general, but that’s what you’ll have to find yourself. And it’s so worth it.

 

 

The Sunset Limited.

The Sunset limited – This book by Cormac McCarthy is not your regular book. In fact, it’s not really a book in the literal sense, it’s a play, which means that you’ll be reading the speech of the characters. This play has two characters.
Now, I haven’t seen this play with my very own eyes, I have only read the manuscript. But the thing is that though the text might seem meager, being only speech, it’s really not. You get to focus on the actual conversation between Black and White, and they get so much character just through their way of speech, their opinions and choice of words, or silence.
Before the play/novel actually starts, Black saves White from jumping onto the tracks of the Sunset Limited. The Sunset Limited is a train. The entire novel then plays out at Black’s place where they discuss their various views on life and White’s attempted suicide. For those of you who want something less texty, read it. And all the rest of you; Read it too. How you manage to get to know the characters so well without actors actually playing them in front of you, it’s quite amazing.

 

 

Night Watch.

Night Watch – Yes, Terry Pratchett again. One of his books was in the last bunch, and I’ll be damn if one isn’t in the next. The fact that I have read two of his books and that those happen to be two of my favorite books of all time seems promising for the third, which is standing in my bookshelf, just waiting to be picked.
Anyhow, Night Watch, in this book, Sir Samuel Vimes, gets caught in a temporal anomaly. This happens while he’s chasing Carcer, a cold-blooded killer, with brains, on the 30th anniversary of the revolution on the twenty-fifth of May. This sends him back 30 years in time (And so in time for the actual revolution) which he took part of as a boy in the night watch of Ankh-Morpork. Though this time he will take the role of his former mentor, John Keels, who in the original timeline died during the revolution, and go through it one more time, and- It is all very hard to explain since this kind of stuff only makes sense in a Discworld novel.  But it is not only funny, it is also touching and exciting and rather epic, actually. It’s a great read.

 

Shutter Island

Shutter Island (Patient 67) – Alright, I must warn you to read about this book on wikipedia if you haven’t read it yet, as it ruins a great part of the puzzle, so to speak, but if you don’t plan to read it, have already seen the movie, or simply don’t care, go ahead.
This book was written by Dennis Lehane and first published back in April in 2003. I actually had this book in my shelf for several years before starting to read it (Which I did just recently), and I must admit I wasn’t too tempted to until I came across it at my local bookstore. I’d been planning to watch the movie, Shutter Island, but never got around to, and then I just idly browse throught the titles at the store I see a book called “Shutter Island”. And I also see that the author seems familiar. The thing is that the swedish translation of the book wasn’t called Shutter Island, it was called Patient 67, so I never realized the two were one and the same until I found the book at the store and read that the “original swedish title” was, in fact, Patient 67.
So I grabbed it straight after finishing Night Watch.
The book itself isn’t actually all that good I think, not all the way through, and before you begin to suspect what is actually going on, it gets a bit boring, and not a lot of things happen during the first half of the book. Once you get through those 50% though, it gets exciting. You still need the previous 50% for it to make sense though, and the closer you get to the end the better it gets, until you’re actually kind of, well, what can you say. It makes so much sense, yet you didn’t suspect it until very close to the end, at least not seriously, I know I didn’t.

Well, I wont spoil it for you, and I’m all done here, so I shall be going to do something else, perhaps sleep, perhaps not. More books will come as I remember them, or read them, so stay tuned.

Hello boys and girls.

Right now I’m sitting in the middle of a creative chaos. It’s usually a term used to describe my mess of a room in a nice way. But this time it’s really more fitting than usual. Do you know how to make a studio in your own home? Well, if you don’t have the fancy money to get you a “real, professional” studio? Well, it’s simple, you improvise a whole lot, use what you have, grab a few lamps, lights and bedsheets, and there you go. Your own makeshift, craptastic, awesome home studio!

Lucky enough for me, I’ve got a whole lot of old stuff, both for LARP and for old plays I’ve been in, so building a set that Jessica and I could agree on wasn’t all that hard.

I wont be chattering about it all that long, I’ll just go ahead and show you some results!

This is a few of the things we used for mood and ambience!

My friend and model, Jessica, in a cape I bought a long time ago in Tunisia, I think. Yes, I hoard things.

We brainstormed when she arrived at 9 am and woke me up, we figured we'd use what I already had at home and settle for a sort of fantasy feel, and in the end we went for this; A lady, hoarding shiny things and keeping feathers in her hair, so a birdlady, of sorts.

I had feathers and eyelashes at home as well. YES, I HOARD THINGS.

Well, I wont shove all of it in your faces, but you’ve got a bit of a peek at what we were doing at least.

Right, have a nice evening everybody!