✎.. week thirty seven – umbrella academy, birthday gifts

Discovered that my uni is more tech savvy than I thought

In one of my classes we learned to use a translation tool called Trados, and the license for it is tied to the school Wi-Fi. Luckily, my university has its own VPN application that allows you to connect to the university Wi-Fi remotely. Before I discovered that, I had to spend all day every day at uni to work on my translation assignments and it was very tiring. I’m happy that I don’t have to do that anymore, and that I can work on things from home. We have roughly three translation assignments a week and it is a lot of work. I also volunteered to be a student representative which in turn makes me even more busy. Should have thought twice about that before volunteering. At least my closest friend at uni is volunteering with me so I won’t be completely by myself.

Decided to give Glossybox another try

A couple of years ago, I had a running subscription for Glossybox and I was really happy with it for a while. Then I felt like the items were just constant repeats and not worth the money put into them and I decided to unsubscribe from it. Recently, I decided to resubscribe because their Birthday Edition box looked like it would be good, and I was right. I posted my review of it on my second, more casual blog and you can read it by clicking here.

The cutest birthday gift

My friend gifted me the cutest things! On the left you can see a bag of Skooma, which is actually loose leaf tea! It is inspired by the substance found in the Elder Scrolls games, and it is a loose leaf tea that tastes like peaches. I like it a lot, and I would definitely repurchase it myself when I run out of it.
The other gift is a cat mug. It features a built-in tea steeper, and it is so cute. The handle is a cat tail, and the lid spins so that the steeper doubles as a stirring spoon. I have been using it pretty often ever since I received it. It just makes it even more fun to drink the Skooma tea since Skooma is most often used by the Khajiit race in the game, a bunch of humanoid cats.

Fell hard for Umbrella Academy

I was told that I should check out umbrella academy. I had heard about it prior because I used to be a hardcore fan of My Chemical Romance and Gerard Way, but I had never gotten around to actually reading the comics. I decided to give the series a shot and I fell in love immediately. My friends expected me to love both Klaus and Vanya, but somehow my favorite ended up being Five. The actor did such a phenomenal job for being so young, and it honestly feels like the role was written just for him. I don’t think anyone else would be able to portray Five in the same way. I also decided to buy the first volume of the comics after I finished the series. I haven’t had the chance to read through it yet, but I’m sure it will be good too.

✎.. week thirty four – finally back to uni, and birthday celebrations

Back to uni!
University started again on August 12th, and it has been so nice, and also a bit stressful to get back into that routine. Since it is the last year of my bachelor’s degree, there is a lot of reading, and a lot more assignments to hand in. There’s at least two per week, and it can be a little overwhelming. We handed in the first translation assignment on the 20th. Classes are okay, from week 35, there will be more digital classes on zoom, but we still have to walk to uni pretty much every day. It’s a nice walk though so I don’t mind too much. There is a lot of reading to do for my classes, and I’ve found that printing the articles we have to read, and make tiny books out of them has helped a lot.

Looking after a stray cat
My new kitty friend keeps coming back to see us, and I’ve been stocking up on some food so that I can actually feed her. No one knows who she belongs to, but I’m happy to help looking after her. I have two cats that are living with my parents and I miss them a lot, looking after this girl helps me cope a bit more.

Celebrated my birthday
My 29th birthday was on Friday August 21st, and I spent the day and evening drinking and playing monopoly with my roommates. I baked a mocha chocolate cake and the boys enjoyed it a lot. The morning after, the remaining pieces were all gone, and I’m happy that they liked it enough to finish the whole cake. Luckily monopoly didn’t fully destroy our friendships, but there was (at least) one sour loser. It was lots of fun though, and I’m really looking forward to doing that again sometime.

✎.. week thirty two – blooming

My plant grew a baby!
This one has not grown any flowers yet so it made me really excited to see that it was finally starting to bloom! I’ve had it for years and it has grown so big, it started out as one little plant bit, so I was so excited to finally see the stem grow out from it over a few days. I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of flower it will produce, if any.

Nothing, nowhere – lights
I was so excited for this release. Nothing, nowhere. is my favorite artist of all time and everything he puts out is so good. Lights has a few 80’s sounding parts in it and I love it so much. Every song he make is so personal and emotional and I love everything about them all.

Getting on with flatmates
More people have moved in now, it used to only be me and one other guy, but as of today, Sunday the 9th, we’re all five. It’s a little crowded, but luckily they are all really nice. Two of them I lived with during the first year of university, so it is nice to have someone to turn to if I need it. We’ve already had two movie nights and they have been so nice, I’m looking forward to having more of them in the future. So far we’ve watched Mad Max: Fury Road and World War Z, I’m surprised I haven’t watched them before, but they weren’t too bad. I think I prefer Mad Max over WWZ though.

What I miss the most about living in York

University life and the library
University in the UK is much more social based than in Norway, and even if I’m 110% introverted, I miss the socialization. You always have to reach out to coursemates about everything and the seminars are based around discussing whichever texts you’re studying. In Norway it is much more individualistic, and I feel like it is harder to reach out because you’re expected to study on your own. The university library at York St John was amazing too, with it being open 24/7, having tons of computers you could use, and having a Costa coffee right next to it.

The town itself
York is filled with quaint little streets, beautiful buildings and curious little shops everywhere. It was nice to be able to have everything within walking distance, and pretty much every street had a view of the York Minster. You can see some of my favorite places in my Discovering York series.

Ubereats and other delivery
Being able to have food delivered, whether it is groceries or junk food, was a big bonus of living so close to town. Where I’m from in Norway, I was always way too far away from any food shops that offered delivery, so ubereats was a service we frequently used. It was nice to be able to just relax with some good food and games or movies every Friday evening.

The architecture and nature
There was always something nice to look at. Beautiful mixes of old castle walls and modern buildings, parks like the Museum gardens and so on. I loved going for walks just to look at and observe everything. One time I almost got lost, following a side street to find something new to look at and ended up on the other side of town. Those little adventures were my favorite.

Academics: Introduction to Sociological Thought

This was the first of two modules I had in addition to the English literature ones.

The lectures
Every Wednesday we had a 1.5 hour long lecture where we were taught everything about the foundations of sociological theory. We learned about the teachings of Marx, Durkheim and Weber. The module also taught us about different types of societies (capitalistic, communistic), feminism, liberalism and so on. I remember during one of the lectures, Tyson stopped talking, just looked at us and went “You guys look so depressed now”, which was probably true because none of us had really thought about society to this extent. I don’t think sociology would be a module anyone would take for fun, it makes you look at the world in a new and different way and it can honestly be very depressing.

The seminars
All of the seminars were lead by a former sociology student and he was really nice. Seminars were not similar to lectures at all, they were based around a set of questions or tasks, and we would often work together in small groups. The end goal was to explore the topics of the week further, and we often had to make a flowchart or list, or even a power point presentation showing our findings. I found it to be really helpful to visualize all of the information since it could often feel very convoluted and heavy when just reading it on your own. There were also seminars called “writing retreat” where he would help us out with anything related to the essays we had to write. I found this to be very helpful since the module required a different citation format, English literature uses MLA, while Sociology modules uses Harvard.

Reading material
The reading material for this module could feel very heavy. The first few weeks were about Durkheim’s theories on suicide and social facts. Then it continued onto Marxism and so on. I’ll list our main reading sources below.

  • Suicide: a study in sociology by Durkheim
  • The rules of sociological method by Durkheim
  • A contribution to the critique of political economy by Marx
  • The communist manifesto by Marx
  • Introducing social theory by Jones, Bradbury
  • The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism by Weber
  • Neo-liberalism chapter from Ideology and Welfare
  • Truth chapter from Metaphors we live by.

It is not the most convoluted list and there was a lot of additional reading, but the topics are so broad and heavy so it feels like a lot more than it is. I think it was a good selection of texts, and I feel like I learned a lot from this module in regards to my own view of society. I have become more critical, and I will be able to use what I learned in my day to day life.

Exploring York: York Castle Museum pt. 3

Part 3 of the York Castle Museum, you can find part 2 here.

The last section of the Museum was dedicated to 50s – 80s nostalgia, then the Castle Prison. The nostalgia section was mostly old vehicles and clothes, and it was crammed with people so I didn’t take too many pictures in there. I mostly took pictures of the motorcycles because my dad is a mechanic and he has devoted his whole life to them.

Before you enter the Castle Prison section itself, you pass through a courtyard containing stocks and old gallows, it’s kind of creepy but also interesting to look at at the same time. I have no doubt that the courtyard has been the location for many executions.

Once you enter the Prison section, you’re greeted by locked cells and unsettling shadows, no doubt created to give off the illusion of someone still being in there. (I sure hope it’s just created shadows and not any actual spirits haunting it). It might be difficult to see, but there is the silhouette of a person in the picture on the right below.

Most of the cells are open for you to walk around in, and a lot of them have these projected videos of former famous/infamous York Castle Prison prisoners (including Dick Turpin) telling their stories. It is really interesting to hear their story and get a description of what life was like in prison at the time.

I’ll include a short little clip of one of the videos, there was a lot of people chatting about everywhere so it wasn’t easy to record anything down there. I felt uneasy the whole time because the energy down in the cells was so weird so I didn’t want to stay for too long.

That concludes the posts about the York Castle Museum. I think it’s well worth a visit. I don’t remember how much we paid to enter, but it wasn’t too much. The entry fee is to help maintain the museum anyway so it goes to a good cause. If you ever visit York I would definitely recommend stopping by the museum and combine it with a visit to Clifford’s Tower too.

✎.. week thirty – new kitty friend!

Made a new friend!
None of my neighbors really knows who owns this cute kitty, so we let her in for a bit of food and rest whenever she comes around. She’s so sweet and cuddly and I just sit and keep her company for hours at a time. I don’t know what her name is, but she always comes when I try to call for her anyway. We usually give her shelter from the rain and I think she appreciates it.

Took my new shoes for a walk.
I don’t buy new shoes that often, so when I found these on sale from H&M for 249 NOK I just had to get them. I always go for black shoes with white soles because that’s the kind of aesthetic I like, and I love that the soles on these are so chunky. I’ve also visited my favorite place by Jegersbergvannet more recently, it’s so nice to go for walks around there. There’s also pokéstops there, I’ve picked up pokémon go again just to have more motivation to actually go outside more often.

New make up, sort of.
Before I moved to York, I did a purge of my make up stash and threw out almost everything I had, but lately I’ve been buying some pieces here and there because they’ve been heavily discounted. That includes a cute tiny blush, two single eye shadows, two lipsticks, some lip balm, and a blush/bronzer combo. Combined they cost a little over 100 NOK (~$10) and that’s quite cheap for make up here. I’ve stopped caring much about brand names, as long as it works well and is safe to use,it doesn’t matter how cheap it is.
From top to bottom the swatches are: A cream blush, the two eye shadows, the blush/bronzer combo, and then the two lipsticks. One is pink-ish red, and the other is a neutral brown.

Book Review: Cujo

Cujo by Stephen King – ★★★★

I read Cujo as part of my Sick Novels: Disease and literature module. The novel was picked because the main plot is centered around the St. Bernard dog Cujo and his unfortunate meeting with a bat that gives him rabies. King draws upon very stereotypical Gothic horror tropes and uses them in an effective way in the novel. I wrote an essay based on the plot of this book and its presentation of toxic, rabid masculinity parallel to Cujo and his rabid self.

The book follows a few parallel story lines but it is mostly centered around Vic Trenton and his family. There’s some entanglement with Vics wife and a man called Steve Kemp, who is the main source of the toxic masculinity in the book. The Trentons also know the Camber family, the owners of Cujo, a family where the father repairs cars, which plays a big role further down the line. I don’t want to give too many spoilers since that would ruin the shock horror segments of it.

It’s a well written, somewhat typical Steven King book that has been written when he resided in the UK where anti-rabies and rabies awareness propaganda was a big deal at the time. His usage of Gothic tropes and storytelling makes for an interesting and captivating story. There are a few parts that feel a bit unnecessary but they do not really make it any less interesting to read. Upon finishing the book, I’m not sure what I was the most afraid of, a rabid dog or a rabid man, might be both. At least the dog can use the excuse of actually suffering from an illness.

If you enjoy Kings writing, I’m sure you would enjoy this. It is a bit graphic at times but it is a good read. The somewhat unnecessary plot lines and backstory in the book is the only thing knocking off a star, so it receives 4/5 stars from me.

✎.. week twenty nine

Accommodation update – finally a place to live!
There was a lot of uncertainty with the places I looked at when I visited Kristiansand, so I called my old landlord and asked if they would have a free room this autumn. Luckily they said yes, and that I could move in right away if I wanted to. Now I’m living in Kristiansand again and it is really nice. I really missed the area I was living in, mostly because of the nature here, it’s so stunning. My favorite place to go for a walk is to a huge lake called Jegersbergvannet. I love just sitting by the water and look at the birds play, or people who are out for a jog or similar. It’s so serene and calming.

My friend very kindly helped me move in, and we ended up having another taco night, also watched Coco for the first time. I don’t know why I have never watched that movie until just recently, it was so good and I was tearing up towards the end because it is so wholesome. Would definitely recommend it if you enjoy animated movies, for me its a 10/10.

Apart from moving, not too much has happened over the past few weeks. I’ve mostly spent my time cleaning or playing video games. Trying to make the most of the few weeks left before university starts again on August 10th. I’m both looking forward to it, and dreading it a little bit, but that’s just how it is, right? Hopefully this last year of my bachelor’s degree will be a good one.

✎.. week twenty seven

Re-reading a favorite
I feel like everyone are emotionally drained nowadays because of everything going on, so I haven’t been in the right mindset to start any new books. I decided to go for something that gives me comfort, books based on one of my favorite video game series, Dragon Age. The public’s reception of the book was kind of average, it wasn’t the best but it also wasn’t the worst. I really like it because it gives more backstory for Cole, a companion from the third game, he is one of my favorites. He is a spirit who has taken over the body of someone who died in the White Spire, and in the novel we get to know how and why it happened.

Drying flowers for DIYs
A few months ago I invested in buying rose and lavender plants, and since then I’ve been collecting rose petals and lavender flower buds as they dry out for later use. When I get enough lavender buds, I could turn it into a lavender pouch to put either in my pillow or a drawer of clothes to make them smell better and I’m really excited about that. The rose petals I could use to make rose water or something, I haven’t really decided on what to do with them yet.

Student accommodation update
This week I visited the city my university is located in to look at a new place to stay. I have previously contacted my university directly about accommodation but they only prioritize first year students and/or people younger than 22, which I am neither of them. I realized I can’t just rely on waiting for them to find a place to stay for me so I inquired online about it and was invited to a viewing of one on Friday the 2nd.
The viewing went well, and I’ll be informed if I get the room or not by Wednesday, so I’m crossing my fingers! While I was down there I visited my friend who I spent the most time with in York, and we had a very typical “white people taco night” with tacos and gaming. It was really nice to see her again, we haven’t been able to hang out after we got home from England since we were both in quarantine and whatnot.

Apart from this, the past weeks have been quite uneventful. It’s all just a waiting game now. Waiting for a new place to live, waiting for uni to start up again, waiting for student funding, waiting for a job. It’s not the most fun thing in the world.