Falu rödfärg

From time to time I think about Swedish architecture. It is very different from what I am used to in Riga/Latvia. Apart of living in one of the most beautiful Baroque style towns (Karlskrona is known as Sweden’s only baroque city), I am surrounded by the “usual Swedish architecture”, which is falu red wooden houses. I must admit that I find them very charming, but not when you see too many of them. When driving through Sweden, I always wonder, why every place looks so similar to each other…

Recently I decided to make a post with pictures from Karlskrona islands and finally I have gathered a representative collection that will hopefully explain what I mean. Let me know, whether you find the red houses charming or boring 🙂

Note from Wikipedia: Falu or Falun red (pronounced “FAH-loo”, in Swedish Falu rödfärg (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈfɑːlɵ ˈrøːfærj])) is the name of a Swedish, deep red paint well known for its use on wooden cottages and barns.


2.5 weeks of traveling

I left in May, and just returned home yesterday from a long traveling to Göteborg, Malmö, Copenhagen, Zurich, Barcelona and Madrid. Here are some pictures that I am happy to share.

Week 18-19 — Hockey, Nothing Else Matters

For the past few weeks it was all about hockey. And yes, I am not fond of discussing the topic, when it comes to Latvians this year… They were climbing up the first three games, and dramatically falling down ever after. From the 6th place in the power ranking on May 8 they lost a series of games to the teams that have always been defeated, and finally were out before the quarter finals. I feel disappointed, but it does not stop me from watching more of hockey.

And true miracles do happen in ice hockey. Although not for Latvians this time.

They say “Hockey is Canada”. I have just finished watching the first game of the quarterfinals, and the all time favorite Canadians are out after a dramatic struggle for survival against Slovaks. Unbelievable. As the Slovaks sang their national anthem in glory, Canadians were completely paralyzed from the shock, an unexpected defeat, just about 2 min away from the end of the game…

Spring in Sweden

The arrival of the spring in Sweden has been delayed this year. Imagine only, it is mid may, but the nature has just started to bloom. A week ago I took a trip around Blekinge and took some pictures to capture the slow spring revelation.

A tour into the spring

Interestingly spring does not come simultaneously to everyone. In the past few weeks I had a chance to step into its different stages in Sweden, Austria, Italy and for another week return to cold and snowy Latvia.

I have been in Innsbruck before, but during the summer and in the rainy weather, when the town is surrounded by the green walls of the surrounding mountains. This time, it revealed the fascinating beauty of the snowy mountain peaks – an unforgettable scenery. Despite the freshly cold mornings, the day sun’s warmth was burning and I have instantly caught a nice tan.

Although Bolzano is just a couple of hours away from Innsbruck, Italian spring has gone much faster much further. I arrived in the blossom of cherries, magnolia, chestnut trees, lilacs and countless flowers. The good weather however did not last long… and for two days I woke up in the clouds.

My next stop was Milan, the city of famous Duomo, the marvelous cathedral. The weather was fantastically warm, which could easily qualify as Swedish summer (or Latvian for that matter). Although Milan does not have the charm of Bolzano, it was a city worth visiting.





New site, new life

After four years of blogging on web.mac.com, I was forced to move on. Unfortunately, Apple decided not to continue supporting iWeb (my all times favorite too). Although the site is still available, it won’t be moved to the iCloud, and won’t be updated either, since iWeb is not installable anymore.

This all meant that I needed to find a new storage place, and a new content management tool. Those who know how demanding I can be to designing and formatting, can imagine the requirements that I had, and how difficult it was for me to find an adequate solution that allows me to change as much as I would like to… In practice, however, it appeared to be impossible. Anything after iWeb feels and looks different, complex, user unfriendly,..

With the help of an old friend, Elvis, and the time during Agile Latvia 2012, a new site was registered and established. The coming few days were spent on changing the appearance schemes again and again, and moving the content. (I do not promise that the changes in the layout and design will not continue)… but hope that the new life for my website will encourage me to write again, and even regain the interest in photography.

In the sky

When writing yet another email from yet another airport a friend of mine made an observation that I almost live in the air. And indeed, my bags have not been unpacked for several weeks, and I am home only for 2 days before going away again. Out of curiosity I calculated the amount of time spent travelling in just this month. The results are quite shocking:
10 flights in November
10 h 25 min flying
15 h 25 min waiting between the flights
Not to mention several trips by car, trains and the waiting time associated with them. I am curious to calculate the total number of flights per year, but I better not 🙂
On the bright side, life in the air is always sunny 🙂 When thinking about living in the air, an old Latvian song came into mind… In summary they sing about the life behind the clouds.

262 974.383

Only a few weeks ago my clock stroke 262 974.383 hours and considerations about time started to occupy my mind. As we grow older, we start to notice that time runs faster and that apparently life is short. People often consider time unstoppable, unavoidable and uncontrollable. Some theories state that time is a fundamental objective quantity. Others consider that all is relative.

Recently I had a discussion with a friend, that the more events happen to us, the less time we have. I allowed myself to disagree with this statement, and then spent days thinking, whether my friend was right.
I tend to believe that, if well planned, a day can be divided into several intervals, each of which can represent a separate day. Sometimes I come from work and say: “my real Friday starts now!” (it can also happen on Mondays, Tuesdays and other weekdays too). And the more I do, the longer I perceive the day to be. Why do others think differently? Posting this question I turned to the all-mighty wikipedia.

First of all, I came across an interesting concept of temporal illusion called the kappa effect [coined by Cohen, Hansel and Sylvester in: Nature, 172, 901, 1953]. This effect is verifiable by experiment, in which a person taking a journey divided in two equal in duration parts, perceives these parts differently. The theory states that the journey that covers more distance will appear to take longer than the journey covering less distance, even though they take an equal amount of time.
My positive conclusion : do more, and you will have more than 24 hours per day!

At the same time, it is a common practice to grow plants under simulated sped-up lights. Several days per day, so to say. And these plants grow faster. My question is, whether by doing more we age faster?

A sad statistics that I found reveals that one hour to a six-month-old person would be approximately “1:4368”, while one hour to a 40-year-old would be “1:349,440”. Therefore this objectively measured time frame becomes much shorter as we age. Even though the measure of time is the same.
My negative conclusion: Do more, and you will age faster… exponentially faster over the years.
My positive conclusion: Nonetheless, by doing less, you will run out of time even sooner.

Influence from outside

The topic of influence of other people on ourselves has occupied my mind for quite some time. And today, being in a philosophical mood, I decided to write a few lines about it.

To start with, I have recently read about Solomon Asch who became famous with his experiments that showed that social pressure can make a person say something that is obviously incorrect. This is also widely known as The Bandwagon Effect. In Asch’s experiment 50% of people gave the same wrong answer as the others on more than 50% of the trials, because they felt anxious and feared disapproval from others. In real life many people distrust their intuition and follow the majority. Interestingly, in the Mutual Improvement blog that discusses the Bandwagon Effect or cognitive bias the author refers to the benefits of following the crowd discussed in the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, who states that
1) the crowd is often smarter and more accurate than any of the individuals in the crowd;
2) going with the crowd could ultimately prevent you from making mistakes; and
3) prevent from being alone if and when you make those mistakes.

Is that really true? Funny as it sounds, I sense that the anonymous crowd often controls and imprisons us in the chains of the common opinions that are often judgmental and not necessarily true. We get used to rely on society and “the others” that make us slaves of our own stereotypes. Why are we afraid of being judged by others? Whatever we do or do not do, we often think about these others. So, what would happen if we become outstanding? While more people join the crowd, there seem to be less and less outstanding people. And thus, the prefix “out” in this word gains a negative implication of becoming lonely.

Finally, one of my favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde indicates that “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”.