While looking through my photos for the last snowfalls in recent years, I ran into this striking April sunset from a few years ago:
The little pond is just down the street from us. I quite like living in the woods! 🙂
I was browsing my WoW screencaps for something entirely different when my eye fell on two shots from the Dalaran inscription trainer’s place. (This is in the Legion version of Dalaran.) Both are actually from inside the book-filled cupola: the first looks up towards the impossibly high ceiling, the second down towards the trainers’ room floor.
Neat, right? Well, I wondered whether anyone’s actually done anything similar for real and hit the Internet. And I found some!
Stockholm Public Library in Stockholm, Sweden
The functionalist stadsbibliotek was designed by Gunnar Asplund and opened in 1928.
Round Reading Room in the Maughan Library, King’s College London in London, UK
The Round Reading Room of Maughan Library, the main university library of King’s College London, can be found on the Strand Campus.
Picton Reading Room in Liverpool, UK
A home in Toronto, Ontario
Designed by Katherine Newman and Peter Cebulak, this two-level library is in a private residence in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Octagon Room, Islamic Studies Library at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The library is situated in the neo-Gothic Morrice Hall building that previously housed the Presbyterian College of Montreal from 1871 to 1961.
None of them are exactly the same as the game library cupola, of course: apart from the the scale of the rooms, the scale and direction of the bookcases might differ. But apparently it isn’t terribly far-fetched to make a round multi-storey library and pack it chock-full. 😀
Images: Stockholm Public Library by Marcus Hansson on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Round Reading Room of Maughan Library by Colin via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). Picton Reading Room by Terry Kearney on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). Toronto home by Tony Soluri via Architectural Digest. Islamic Studies Library at McGill by Klaus Fiedler, McGill Library.
The other day I was thinking of last December. I went through some photos to remind myself of everything that happened and ran into this gem. At the very end of last year, we were treated to gorgeous, glittering woods after snowfall:
It was really hard to get the light and shadow balanced well; this is one of my better shots, I think, in that respect. The light on the icy trees is so beautiful!
Here, to celebrate our first centennial, are a few aspects of my Finland. All photos by me unless otherwise mentioned.
My Finland is woods and access to nature
Finland is among the most forested countries in the world, and people inhabiting the area have lived off of its forests for millenia. I really love woods. I would feel exposed without woods around me.
In Finland, nature is incorporated into even the largest cities, and not only as manicured lawns or shrubberies. In addition to national parks, we have relatively untouched areas of nature almost within a stone’s throw from anywhere. And lakes – thousands of lakes.
My Finland invests in infrastructure and future-conscious planning
Multiple modes of transportation are an inseparable part of modern community planning. I’ve been biking to get myself from A to B as long as I can remember, and LOVE the bicycle paths. There’s even wintertime maintenance on them! I also love Finland’s clean, safe, up-to-date public transit. To wit: the metro system in the greater Helsinki region was just extended.
My Finland is multilingual and international
For centuries, Finland was stuck in between and fought over by two larger powers. We were first a part of the Swedish realm, then Russia took over. There’s no denying that Finland is a small country, population-wise, and a small market. That doesn’t stop us from connecting; on the contrary.
Finland is officially bilingual (Finnish and Swedish), and the Sami languages, Karelian, Romani and Finnish sign language have been legally recognized as minority languages. Apart from the newer minority languages, there are also older communities speaking Russian and Tatar, for example. Today, pupils learn the basics of a minimum of three languages besides their native one before they leave elementary school.
I also happen to LOVE the Finnish language. It’s an agglutinative one, which means we can build massive words like mustaviinimarjamehutiivistepullonkorkissanikin (‘also in the cap of my bottle of black currant juice concentrate’), typically spelled as one despite the length. Finnish also employs vowel harmony, which means that for instance the back vowel a cannot appear in the same word as the front vowel ä – but because of agglutination, we can build a compound where both do appear. For example, there’s a (theoretical) word with only one consonant and seven vowels: hääyöaie (‘intention on wedding night’ – can’t really see anyone ever using that in everyday life).
My Finland Reads
Finns love reading, whether it’s newsprint, websites or physical books. Or Donald Duck!
Several Finnish authors have achieved international fame.
My Finland designs beautiful things
Modern Finnish design has made a name for itself. Brands like Marimekko or Iittala and names like Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen are known internationally. I’m partial to jugend (art nouveau / national romanticism) and wood.
My Finland is playful
Finns don’t do just high design, we also allow our humor to blossom – check out, for instance, the huge Posankka statue in Turku that is a hybrid between a marzipan pig and a rubber duck.
We also love games and playing. Recent Finnish game franchise hits include Max Payne and Angry Birds. I sometimes wonder if the speculative genre Finnish weird might have arisen from our tendency to play around with ideas and color outside the lines. Not to mention to innovate!
My Finland invests in technology
Almost as long as there’s been an administrative unit called Finland, it’s been poor. Only after the World Wars did we really start trying to improve our lot, and by and large have succeeded. From Fiskars (which started as a forge in 1649) to Nokia and Linux, to mention but a few examples, for a tiny country we’re doing darn well.
My Finland is unabashedly geeky and nerdy
Since reading is a big pasttime in Finland and since we love our technology, it’s probably no surprise that we have an active SF/F / larp / anime community. Thanks to the efforts of the Finnish fan community plus supporters all around the world, we hosted Worldcon 75 in Helsinki this past August.
My Finland Loves Music
From traditional to tango, from classical to heavy metal – even the combination of the two! – music is everywhere in Finland. I’m not a terribly big fan of classical music, but Jean Sibelius is special. Here’s a version of his Finlandia Hymn by Cantus Vocal Emsemble, with lyrics (I believe) from a Unitarian Universalist hymn book:
The Finlandia Hymn by cantussings
The Eurovision Song Contest is popular, and various folk styles are making a comeback.
Pernilla Karlsson – “När Jag Blundar” (Finland) via escDjpo2012
Ulla Pirttijärvi is one of my favorite Sami vocalists. I’ve also grown to like the combination of traditional yoiks and contemporary music quite a lot.
Ulla Pirttijärvi ~ Lullaby via FamilyOfLightMember
My Finland sauna bathes
Sauna is the only truly wide-spread Finnish word. We have sauna often, sometimes multiple times a week, and many people still make their own sauna whisks.
My Finland cares
Finland is not perfect, but by and large we take care of each other. Finland’s women gained the right to vote first in Europe, in 1906. In the first elections where women were allowed to vote they were also allowed ro run for office; we elected 19 female members of parliament that year. We’ve already had one female President. (High time for another!)
This year we legalized same-sex marriage and are experimenting with universal basic income. There’s still plenty to do, for instance abolishing the mandatory sterilization of trans people, reversing the trend of cutting from the care of the disabled and the old, trying to reduce domestic abuse and making sure the social security nets already in place hold.
In my Finland, there’s space to be who you are.
Somehow this feels like the perfect thing for the beginning of October, even though I spotted it in out driveway a few weeks ago: a teeny, tiny perfect feather.
On the basis of color and shape, I’m guessing a baby turkey. We’ve had a gaggle of five hanging around on and off with their mother and an aunt.
I just love nature – it creates such amazing things!
Vincent Bal looks at shadows from a different perspective. His drawings turn the shadows of everyday items into something quite different. Below are just a few of my favorites.
An apple core becomes an owl:
A glass of merlot turns into a UFO abduction scene:
And a bulb of garlic bears an uncanny resemblance to E.T.:
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.
Spring is my absolute favorite time of the year, but summer is great, too. A case in point: a July sunset near our house from a few years ago:
Isn’t it amazing? I find the pink cloud cover turning gradually to purple especially striking.
In business-related news, I’m taking a few days off to attend my cousin’s wedding. My Etsy shop is in vacation mode for the duration, and instead of a fresh post, I’ll be reblogging from my hobby blog Co-Geeking on Monday.
I have unfortunately not been feeling well for several days, so instead of a longer post, please have a bunny face wash thankyou.
Hope you have a good weekend; see you next week.