Friday, 27 May 2016

Review: Dreamrider

Dreamrider Dreamrider by Barry Jonsberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A believable account of bullying, with a touch of the fantastic. An easy and captivating read, resonating profoundly with my tastes. Thoroughly recommended!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

All days are nights

I truly love
Which is harder to do
Than to dream of


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Min första (och antagligen sista) löptävling

Idag sprang jag mitt första lopp. Lundaloppet, 10 km stadslöpning. Jag har länge varit övertygad om att tävlingar inte riktigt är min grej. Att springa med folk framför, bakom och runtomkring gör mig stressad, och folk som tittar på triggar min prestationsångest. Men när en grupp från min institution på universitetet ville ha med mig att springa i deras lag så gav jag med mig och ställde upp.

Så nu har jag gett tävlandet en chans. En timme och fjorton minuter tog det att springa den där milen, vilket väl är ungefär så lång tid det brukar ta mig att springa samma sträcka (på en höft då; jag mäter sällan vare sig tid eller sträcka särskilt noga). Längs vägen fanns det blåsorkestrar, trumband, vatten och barn som gav en high-five. Efteråt fick en bananer.

Det började tungt. Alla sprang om mig. Jag har nog aldrig känt mig så långsam förut. Och den inre frid som brukar infinna sig när fötterna rinner över marken ersattes av en gnagande känsla av att jag inte är värdig att kalla mig löpare. Efter hand blev det lättare, och en stund efter halvvägs började löpglädjen infinna sig. Men det var obehagligt att bli konstant ryckt ur sitt fokus, och så mycket asfalt och sten gjorde fötterna lite ledsna.

Jag tog mig i mål, och hittade några fler Lonesome Runners på gräset. Det var trevligt, men att höra folk prata om tider gjorde mig illamående. Så, nej. Nu har jag gett det en chans, men kan konstatera att jag nog hade rätt i att tävlingar inte är min grej. Någon mer som har motsatsen till en tävlingsinstinkt?

Kärlek och löpning,

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The joy of running

To get up before six o'clock and run in the chilly morning air. For over an hour. Before breakfast. Barefoot. This is a thing I do now. Regularly, even. Just a few years ago the very thought would have appalled me, but as it is I even find myself looking forward to it. Seeing as it was my ambition to learn to love running, I welcome this shift in personality.

Because wow, do I ever love it now. Teaching my feet to fly across mud, grass and gravel, feeling them growing stronger by the day. Learning how to breathe my way through pain and struggle until a sort of serenity makes its home in my body and movement just for the sake of movement becomes a thing. 

Even on the days when every step feels like uphill and hopelessness weighs heavy on my heart. Even then, when even running becomes an ordeal I'd rather do without, I am still thankful for the gift of moving forwards. It takes the edge off sorrow, heartache, anxiety, rage, and all other feelings I would otherwise drown in.

I dream of running long distances and in dangerous places. I'm still slow and weak, but my will is strong and I have come a long way from where I started. So I'll keep dreaming and running in parallel. For the moment I seem to be having my health back, and I'll be damned if I don't enjoy it.

Love and motion,

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Twelfth Night

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That was a most excellent staging of Twelfth Night. Not least the abundance of Shakespearean insults; their translations had me laughing almost until I cried. I think this remains my second favourite Shakespeare play (of the ones I've seen), next only to A Midsummer Night's Dream. I have yet to experience The Storm, though. In any case, this was an evening well spent. I wish I could afford this sort of thing more often.

Love and theatre,

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Review: The Kalevala

The Kalevala The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was an experience. Even though I am unable to understand it in its original version, this translation (by Kirby) made a thoroughly enjoyable audiobook. Tragic, beautiful, and so, so epic. Just look at this:

Grew an ox in far Karjala,
Not the largest, nor the smallest,
Was the ox that grew in Suomi;
But his size was all-sufficient,
For his tail was sweeping Jamen,
And his head was over Kemi,
Horns in length a hundred fathoms,
Longer than the horns his mouth was;
Seven days it took a weasel
To encircle neck and shoulders;
One whole day a swallow journeyed
From one horn-tip to the other,
Did not stop between for resting.
Thirty days the squirrel travelled
From the tail to reach the shoulders,
But he could not gain the horn-tip
Till the Moon had long passed over.

So. That was a _middle-sized_ ox? I wonder what the big one was like. Oh, Finland...

Not to mention valuable life-lessons such as "don't bother proposing to a woman if you are contending with a younger man, because women will always go for good looks" or "do not bake a stone into a cake for someone to eat just out of spite, nothing good can come of it" or "do not let a fish eat the sun, it's just generally a bad idea".

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Planets, galaxies and coming back to life

Achievement unlocked: observe all planets through a telescope! Mercury, I got you at last, and in crescent shape nonetheless. This was a most excellent night of stargazing, and just what I needed after these past few weeks of hell. Planets, moons, satellites, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies. Glimmers of hope in an existence I had just about given up upon. Those beautiful, faraway specks of light make everything feel slightly more within reach. My master's thesis. Dealing with my emotions. A stable income. Happiness. A future. 

Mercury isn't actually a rainbow-coloured
banana, though appearances might deceive.

Health. Did I mention my nose was actually broken, after all? It totally was, and although I'll spare you the graphic details I can totally not recommend catching the flu and breaking your nose at the same time. I've had an operation to fix it now, though, and the doctors have concluded that my nose is a bit crooked, but probably not more so than it was before I broke it, and otherwise it's fine. So the slow struggle back to full capacity has begun. I long to be able to run and write for hours, but right now I'm thankful I manage to walk to work without fainting and write a hundred words on my thesis without my head exploding. And while perhaps I should take the opportunity to cosplay Tycho Brahe, like my boss suggested, I look forward to not actually look more hideous than my Nosferatu larp character.

So that's what right now is about for me. Trying to do stuff, because doing things means you have a life. Not to mention plain old survival. I totally made it another day.

Love and hope,

Sunday, 10 April 2016

When in disgrace

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Life's not being kind right now. Trying to survive through writing. It's hard. But words have helped before. So I'll give this gory story I've had an idea of writing for a while a go before giving up.


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Eländes elände

Jag hade planer. Det här skulle bli en bra vecka. Jag skulle göra saker. Vara produktiv. Skriva min masteruppsats. Jobba. Smida planer för framtiden. Träna. Vara kreativ, social, ansvarsfull.

Sen inledde badrumsgolvet med en hoppspark, och vann på knock-out i första ronden. Det finns trevligare sätt att spendera en tisdagmorgon än att vakna i en pöl av sitt eget näsblod. En ambulansfärd till sjukhuset senare kunde det konstateras att näsan förmodligen inte är bruten, men att jag ändå borde ta det jävligt lugnt de närmsta dagarna. Som om jag hade ett val. Jag kan knappt stå upp i fem minuter utan att allt snurrar, hela ansiktet är ett blåmärke, det rinner konstant blod och slem ur näsan. Och jag lyckas inte fokusera på någonting alls.

Ingenting blir bättre. Mitt liv rinner mig ur händerna. Och slemmet tar aldrig slut.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Convention aftermath and the Sandman Overture

Home from the biggest gaming convention of the year since a few days back. I had a splendid good time, as I usually do. To not be able to walk into a room without someone waving at me wanting to hug me or ask me to join a game. That feeling of being surrounded by awesome people who wish me no harm, it's like coming home. And even apart from the lovely people I've had a lot of fun with the boardgaming and roleplaying.

The downside of it all is that I seem to have been smitten with the traditional convention-pestilence. So I've spent the past couple of days in a coughing and sneezing fever-daze. Oh well, totally worth it. I've tried being at least a little productive, but my brain cannot seem to handle focusing on scientific papers right now, not to mention thesis-writing. So instead I've gorged myself on the Sandman Overture, while drinking copious amounts of ginger milk (vegan, of course) and listening to David Bowie.

... it is the nature of Dreams, and ONLY of Dreams, to define Reality.

I'm not sure what to say about this latest Sandman episode except "wow". What expectations I had were widely surpassed by its beauty and fantastic storytelling. It didn't take me long to fall head over heels in love with it, especially after having re-read large parts of the series fairly recently. Some questions were answered, and some new ones were raised. Just as it should be.

I'm also reading my way through a collection of Irish folk tales I brought home with me from the trip I made there over the holidays. Also very interesting and entertaining, especially as it is very obvious that modern fantasy is inspired by them to a very large degree. Also deep musing such as this one:

“He shrugged and raising his hand high above his head began to work the enchantment. But the spell seemed to take longer than usual to work. Perhaps, thought Brian, the power of the Dagda and Danu is not so strong in these foreign waters where none worship them. Do the gods live by the faith of men? he wondered.”

There is one thing which confuses me, though. What in all the world is orchilurum? Apparently something which the king of Greece had in his treasury. Google and all my dictionaries have failed me in explaining exactly what it is, though. Anyone?

That's enough ramblings for now. I'm feeling better, and I think after a day like this I'm ready to face the world tomorrow.

Love and Dreams,