Developing Your Eye II: Urban Landscape

Developing Your Eye II: Urban Landscape

Part of WordPress’s photography course Developing Your Eye II.

The protagonist of today’s photo should be the setting. I didn’t manage to get the street cleared for me to take a people-free photo, so don’t mind the pedestrians.

What I Hated the Least Today 225/365: Real Story

What I Hated the Least Today 225/365: Real Story

Snowed in
Snowed in

I brought home snow

On my coat—

It melted

On the floor

Within seconds.

Changing Seasons 7/12

Changing Seasons 7/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

I hardly go out these days for various boring reasons. I however did go to a cemetery — to see what my next stop will be and to pay a social visit to deceased relatives. I figure a graveyard is as good a place as any to record changing seasons, hence graveyard photos follow below.

To balance it out with something less morbid, there are sunrises, sunsets, clouds and rain as observed from my flat. For the next month’s instalment of this challenge, I challenge myself to present a set of photos all taken without me setting foot out of the flat.

What I Hated the Least Today 191/365: Lost

What I Hated the Least Today 191/365: Lost

Bridges
Bridges

I’ve run out of my Ginkgo Biloba and I’m lost. I suspect that the memory pills might have been actually working. I hate to admit it (I always hate admitting things). Since I’ve stopped taking them, I’m constantly finding myself lost.

Yesterday I got on the wrong tram. In a city where I’ve lived for quite a while and which has exactly eight tram lines. Not much space for confusion here (but I’m resourceful). I saw my mistake on the next stop, duly got off and back I went on another tram in the opposite direction. (The right tram, this time.)

Today I thought I’d take a shortcut on my way home from a yoga class. I did get home but it was the opposite of a shortcut (a longcut?). It would’ve been a shortcut if I could fly over buildings (but I didn’t have my broom) and walk over water (but I’m clearly no Jesus). Well, at least I’ve seen a part of the town where I wouldn’t normally wander.

They say that not all who wander are lost. I strongly disagree. I am lost whenever I wander. Otherwise I wouldn’t wander. I’ll probably want to restock on brain pills. Unless I forget where I was going or get lost on the way. Or unless I forget. Full stop.

Changing Seasons 6/12

Changing Seasons 6/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

What I Hated the Least Today 177/365: Sounds

What I Hated the Least Today 177/365: Sounds

Homely home sounds
Homely home sounds

Do you ever think of the sounds your home makes when it’s otherwise quiet? I don’t, unless I spend a night out of home and am confronted with an entirely different set of sounds. Moving homes a year and half ago also made me more attuned to the peculiarities of soundtracks of places, so to say.

My current home produces some sounds that were not entirely straightforward to get used to. In winter, the fuses tend to buzz when the floor heating kicks in; which sounds like electrical overload to me, but I had a technician checking the fuses and insisting that nothing was wrong with them. I eventually got used to the buzzing.

In all seasons, the water heater tunes in with random screeching sounds. It sounds as a train braking in distance. It’s sometimes hard to tell from actual train screeching, which I get as well, since I live near a cargo train depot.

In summer evenings, I have noise from the pub across the street, which is actually quite pleasant. It’s good to hear that there is life going on outside even when I’m locked inside working or blogging. The pub shuts its outside seating area at 10 p.m. sharp, which is probably the standard curfew to keep if night disturbance charges are to be avoided.

The best sounds of all are the cat sounds. I don’t mean the noise of the blinds being torn down or the squealing of the toy mouse being chased around, though in the case of the latter, I appreciate it when the cat  engages in human-approved, furnishings-friendly activities.

What I’m quite in love with is the sound of the cat’s paws tappity-tapping on the hard floor. I can hear her in my sleep as she is prowling around. It doesn’t disturb me, it’s a comforting heads up that the cat is live and well (and up to no good, but never mind that).

Speaking of good sounds, here’s a good song called “That Sound”. Whatever it is that works as that sound for you.

 

Fire in Progress

Fire in Progress

Around 1:30 a.m., uncomfortably close
Around 1:30 a.m., uncomfortably close

I should be working, but I find the mushroom cloud of smoke outside of my window slightly distracting. The above was snapped with my not-iPhone from my flat’s terrace at 1:30 a.m. when I first noticed that the sky got itself smokey eyes. (I’m entitled to treat a fire in a flippant tone when I’m sitting 800 metres away from it.)

In retrospect I recalled that I did hear sirens earlier, but since it’s Friday night and since I live next to a hospital, that’s a perfectly normal background noise. I’m mildly discomforted by the fact that I’m siren-deaf—I physically perceive them but I don’t mentally notice them. I’m also somewhat disappointed in my cat. Just before I saw there was a fire, the cat acted weird, hid in a closet and then came out for a cuddle. And I thought she was just happy to have me.

Two hours later, the local fire brigade tweeted that it’s a textile warehouse on fire—before that, there was no information anywhere to be found. It’s cool that they added photos and even a video, but I’d rather know if I should pack my emergency bag (and if my favourite supermarket next to the warehouse is burning too). A storm just started—the cat retired to the closet again, she’s scared of rain for no reasonable reason, especially when considering that she used to live outdoors.

I guess being almost a kilometre away and with the rain now, I should be safe enough, but I’ll probably stay up to see what’s up—or more to the point, what’s burning down. Should you be concerned about my morbid humour (but you should surely be used to it by now), let me state for the record that no casualties were reported and given that it’s a warehouse that caught fire in the middle of the night, casualties are unlikely. I’m not even freaking out by now (too much).

Around 4 a.m., hopefully under control
Around 4 a.m., hopefully under control
What I Hated the Least Today 174/365: Home(land)

What I Hated the Least Today 174/365: Home(land)

Familiar homescape
Familiar homescape

I’m extremely unpatriotic. The arbitrary circumstance of me being born and living in one country rather than another isn’t enough to inspire any attachment to my homeland. I have my sentimental moments though. For instance, when the national sports team wins a world championship, I may experience a vague sense of pride—being proud of nothing related to me really, especially since I don’t follow any sports.

The older, I mean the wiser, I get, the more I consider it fortunate to find myself in the second world. I believe it balances the extremes of the first world and the third world rather nicely. I don’t do anything coming close to a collective national pride, but I enjoy the comfort of familiarity. It’s the familiar, not the alien, that makes one feel at ease and, by extension, at home.

What works for me as a marker of home is the characteristic Eastern European socialist architecture. It’s a soothing sight, and whenever I see, say, a fellow blogger posting pictures of tall concrete tenements, it triggers an immediate sense of shared heritage in my mind. When I went out on the terrace tonight and saw the sun setting behind the blocks of flats—as captured in this post’s featured image—I had a weak moment when I was almost defiantly proud of my background.

I still deny any accusations of patriotism though and if you ask me, I will also deny having authored this sentimental post. It was the cat who hijacked my laptop and tried to embarrass me by blogging about feelings. I don’t do feelings, of course—unless related to the cat, who is currently sitting on the window, staring at the darkened tenements across the street and plotting how to taunt me next.

What I Hated the Least Today 170/365: Zombies Want to Have Fun Too

What I Hated the Least Today 170/365: Zombies Want to Have Fun Too

Zombie home
Zombie home

I live next to a hospital complex; more accurately, next to a mortuary. I find that appropriate because I might be a zombie, considering that I shun daylight and only get any work done at nighttime. Today I woke up to find the mortuary under reconstruction. While I was sleeping, which was a significant part of other people’s workday, what looked like the foundations of an amusement maze were dug up behind the building. I figure that zombies want to have some fun too.

On a related note, my landlord might have become zombified too. I wonder if it’s a cause for concern or joy, since as an undead person, he might resign at earthly possessions and stop demanding that I pay my rent. What leads me to doubt his live status is that he started to keep the lights on in his house throughout the night. I know because I’m so unfortunate as to have my landlord living across the street. We spy on each other because our windows are facing, which makes random sightings hard to avoid.

I monitor my surroundings religiously about once an hour, when I go out on the terrace to smoke. So, unless smoking kills me first, I shall keep you posted about further developments regarding the zombie amusement arcade being built under my windows (I live in a bedsit but I have two windows, which is cool, right?) and regarding the possible zombie threat across the street. This is such a great neighbourhood to live in. It’s really lively here, you know.

What I Hated the Least Today 163/365: Academic Encounters

What I Hated the Least Today 163/365: Academic Encounters

Lost in a gritty city
Lost in a gritty city

I met my favourite professor in town today. Academic encounters tend to be highly humorous because academia means social awkwardness. A high degree of it.

I recognised the professor straight away though he was pacing—not very steadily, as he was juggling his deep thoughts while walking—some distance in front of me. I sped up, caught up with him, said Hello, professor and introduced myself, in case he didn’t remember he spent the last n years collaborating with me. He did remember. He also acknowledged that it wouldn’t have been odd if he hadn’t recognised me because he had broken his glasses. (Damn it, I’m probably not getting this tense shift right and I need a tense even more in the past than past perfect. Yet, such a tense does not exist in English grammar.)

In lieu of a conversation, the professor and I exchanged our individual mutually unrelated streams of consciousness. In a rare moment when we actually actively interacted, the professor inquired whether I was still unemployed. I said I was, however, I now officially called it being self-employed. It’s the same, minus the social security benefits, plus the self-employment expenses on taxes and insurances. The professor complained about his low salary. I didn’t tell him that he should be glad he can earn enough to pay his bills, even if just enough. I also didn’t ask how much he earned.

The professor expressed some concerns about his four-year-old son, who, surprise, is a prodigy, reads in two languages and, surprise again, no one in the kindergarten likes him. No one likes smartass people. I advised the professor (because in academia, no one expects you to behave adequately, which allows me to dispense with advice to my professor) that as long as he discourages his offspring to follow a career in the humanities, everyone will be just fine. I didn’t recommend a career in IT, which I do recommend.

Owing to the lack of his glasses, the professor was more disoriented than usual. When I inquired which tram he was waiting for, he gave a me a bus number. While waiting at a tram stop. After a metaphysical discussion concerning trams and buses and the meaning of life, the professor decided for tram number seven. I made sure to wait with him and put him on the tram. He really looked lost. The encounter cheered me up. It’s refreshing to see someone who is more lost than yourself.