Friday, October 31, 2008

Breaking News...

It's snowing!!

I only took a couple of photos. It started snowing about 2 hours ago. It is now snowing crazy-like, and I think I will be able to take some pretty nice photos tomorrow. yay! snow! It's a novelty for me, so I love it!

Southern Finland -- Part II: Helsinki

This is part 2 of our trip to Southern Finland. These photos were all taken in Helsinki. We spent a Sunday afternoon and a Monday morning in Helsinki. It was rainy and cold, unfortunately. We couldn't use our umbrellas b/c the wind was knocking them around too much. It was quite comical, and we had to put the umbrellas away.

We started the visit Sunday by visiting the rock church:

I don't know why it looks like people are running for their lives in this photo. The church was beautiful and very peaceful.

The church view from the balcony:

This was my favorite part, lighting a prayer candle.

Here are some photos of the hotel room:

wait a minute. I thought this guy was the gardener at Turku castle. How'd he get into my room?

We spent most of Sunday inside the National museum, but I only have a couple of photos from that excursion.

A throne:
A brief moment to pause and pitch some tightly clad royal booty.

I don't know why we only have a couple of photos from the national museum. It was packed with fascinating objects. Maybe the lack of photos reflects how exhausted we were from all the sight seeing. That night we ate some very good Nepalese food and went back to the room. I stayed up too late watching French news and bad reality TV. It was fantastic. The only horrible part was watching a french news reporter interview a man from Iowa (or maybe it was Kansas). The farmer called Obama the 'n' word, and I was shocked! shocked! The farmer said he was a life long democrat, but wouldn't vote for Obama b/c he "can't stand n!@@*rs". WTF?!!

Okay, on to the next day....

Monday wasn't as rainy as Sunday, but the day was still very grey. This means the photos look kind of gloomy, but Helsinki was a very beautiful city. Here are some photos as we walked around visiting churches and just generally ogling the city.

The massive Lutheran church.
I like this photo b/c Patrick's noggin is floating around the bottom.

The above photo is theview from the top of the stairs to the Lutheran Church.
Inside the Lutheran Church.

This photo above is the Orthodox Church. We didn't get to go inside, sadly, but it was an impressive building none the less.

This is the view from the Orthodox church. They could flip off the Lutheran's on their way to mass.

We also walked around the market square of Helsinki where they sell handicrafts. It was pretty nice, and I bought a little wooden block puzzle for my nephew.

So, overall, we had a fantastic trip. Helsinki was wonderful. Turku was unbelievable. I loved the trip and wish we could've stayed longer.

Back from Southern Finland -- Part I. Turku!

Hello all. Patrick and I have returned from an ESO meeting of Finnish Astronomers and Scientists in Turku, Finland. The meeting was held at Tuorla Observatory. It was a 10 minute bus ride from the city center to the observatory, and it was lovely out there. I forgot to take photos until we were waiting for the bus to take us away. Unfortunately, the sunlight was directly in front of me, so the photos aren't that great. But, I think you get the idea.

The entrance to Tuorla Hostel

This photo shows the main house at the Hostel/Observatory.

Another building on the property...

across the street from the Hostel

It was very pretty. The meeting was a good one. The group was small, which meant more interaction with individuals. I even made a contact with a scientist in South Africa who published a paper on similar stuff that I'm doing.

After the meeting, we stuck around to do some sightseeing. We spent Saturday in Turku walking around and visiting Turku castle. Now, I'm going to post a bunch of photos of Turku for your viewing pleasure. Click to embiggen them, as you wish.

This is a beautiful church in the middle of Turku. This driveway/courtyard has a nice slope to it. We watched a man chase down a runaway buggy stuffed with two kids on this driveway. It was pretty funny, but don't worry. No children or fathers were harmed in the making of this photo.

A view of the river.

A beautiful park near the handicraft museum. Sadly the museum was closed. So, we strolled through this park into an open air market and onward to Turku castle instead.

It was a cold day, and this bird is nicely expressing how I felt. I too would refuse to get into that freezing water. screw that!

Patrick and his new toy.

A pretty view outside of Turku Castle.

This is Turku castle inside the walls. Look, I think that is one of the staff. I forget his name.

That's me. Can you hear what I am saying?
"Get off my lawn before I call the cops! You peasant!"

St. George defending the maiden and killing the dragon. I like the shadows cast on the wall.

Virgin and Child. There were so many incredible carvings from the 15th century in Turku castle. amazing.

Arched ceilings...It's how I roll.

Patrick looks comfy.

okay. Maybe he's getting a little too comfortable on the king's privy.

That is all I am posting for now. I have to get some work done today! Stay tuned for Part II -- Helsinki.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A little piece

I have been so busy lately. It's a blessing to have so much activity in my life, but at the same time I feel somewhat breathless. I like being able to stop and look around every now and then.

Tonight, Patrick and I are taking a night train to Turku, Finland. We are attending a meeting of Finnish Astronomers which will be action packed and fun-filled for two days. I am presenting a poster there that I sort of slaved over needlessly. The meeting is packed with so many talk that I doubt anyone will have the time to read my fabulous poster. Too bad b/c it's a gem.

We have decided to stick around southern Finland this weekend to do a little touristing. So, Saturday we will poke around Turku and probably visit a castle. Sunday we take a train to Helsinki to poke around there for a day we may visit a fortress or a rock church or the natural history museum. Monday afternoon we are hopping a train back to Oulu. It should be fun, and I am not taking my laptop so that I can unplug for a bit.

I'll post photos when I return if I'm not immediately sucked back into the vortex of 'work work work faster faster faster'!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2 blogs in 1 day! It's like Christmas!

Okay, I have to post this video. Sarah Silverman is hilarious in this, and the message is a good one. It does get tedious during the last minute with the whole 5 friends pyramid scheme thing, but stick through it for Sarah.

Don't Vote!

My two favorite quotes:

'I haven't done sh*t on drugs beside play play Halo2'
'You can literally register to vote while pooping, if you have a laptop'

Speaking of voting, I voted! I received my absentee ballot in the mail yesterday. I have darkened in the Obama/Biden oval with the supplied pencil. I was very meticulous about not having stray pencil marks on the page or marking outside the oval. I even wrote in a friend for the US house of representatives. The ballot has been sealed, and I just need to mail it back. sweet!

It's been a while

Hello Internet Friends. It has been a while. I have been very busy with work and traveling. I have to say that this time in Finland has been very productive for me. I like my boss, and I think his work style is very good for me. He checks in a lot, which keeps me moving forward in my projects.

Anyway, I traveled to the Netherlands two weeks ago for the annual meeting of 'Dutch People for Antagonizing Americans Named Brooke' meeting. I was a fruitful meeting. Oh, I also saw my mom and my stepdad while I was there. We had a great time biking around, eating yummy food, visiting castles, watching the 7 up series, working puzzles, listening to podcasts, and shopping! I would normally post photos of the castle now, but they are on my laptop and I am at work. :( I will try to do that tonight.

The Saturday after returning from the Netherlands, I took a trip out to an old farmhouse with the Oulu knitting group. Man, that was a fun trip. The farmhouse is now a store:

It is a store with walls and walls of yarn!! yay!!

I bought some shiny silver yarn to make mittens and a hat for myself. It was a great outing. I got to see the country-side. We had coffee and sandwiches while we chatted. I met some really nice people. I have to say that knitters rock!

After our outing, I biked home and stopped every few hundred feet to look and take pictures of the trees. Fall is a beautiful time.

After all that fun, I had to put my nose to the grindstone at work. I'm frantically filling out job applications and fellowships in hopes of getting one. I've been watching the economy collapse with a mixture of fear and awe. I've also been wondering how I am going to carry all my yarn back to the states.

While I was in the Netherlands, my mother bought beautiful wool yarn for me to make a sweater that I like. It is a birthday gift. I've started the sweater (I will post pictures later), and I'm falling in love with it already. But, it is a thick sweater. I'm going to have to dump my books and other clothes to bring this sweater home. But, it will be worth it.

Speaking of birthdays, tomorrow I turn 34! huzah! Patrick and I will probably go out to eat and enjoy the Irish Festival going on downtown. It should be fun.

Well, this blog was a lot longer than I had intended. But, it has been a while.