Monday, October 25, 2010

Vacation complete

Last week, we had the autumn leave. Our teacher tutor always tells us that "it's autumn leave only for teachers, for the students it's independent studies". Yes, that _was_ my intention. I had a list of things to do for school during the week, and I failed successfully in implementing them. Actually, that was good thing, since I noticed that I really needed a break. And now the school is getting busier than ever.

But back to the vacation. I managed to travel to Sweden, where I visited some German friends. They were working, but I just followed around, and since their work was mostly waiting for things to happen (in a charming villa for apparently rich people), it wasn't bad at all. :) I enjoy practicing my German, since it tends to vanish from my mind relatively fast if not perpetually active.

After the recreational transportation activities, I headed to our summer house in the Eastern Finland. At this time of the year I always find it the loveliest. The summer is gone, the leaves on the ground and everything seems so dead. But it's beautiful nevertheless. I didn't have time to visit it during the summer, so I was quite happy to go there now. Even if the weather wasn't the best, it was great to sit by the fire and read.

There is an intriguing place nearby of our holiday house: a sculpture park of Veijo Rönkkönen. He was a self-learned artist who filled his garden with concrete statues and let people wander through them. He died last year, but the place will (hopefully) continue even if changes are inevitable. We often take our guests to see the place, because it's so extra-ordinary. (Some pictures of the park are here. Every time I go there I find some new detail amongst the statues. This time it was in the form of two concrete owls, who looked somewhat familiar... Or what do you think?

Two owls

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stellar horizons

It's absolutely awesome to be a visual amateur astronomer. I know many people are slightly disappointed when they look through a telescope for the first time, since the objects look so much more modest live than in the space telescope pictures. I've never had that problem. One of the things that have kept me so irrevocably fixed with astronomy is my inbound talent to see and feel the interstellar visions in 3D. Sometimes I feel sad that I don't have the knowledge to change these visions into art for other people to see them, too. (Thank god, we have blogs like Astro Anarchy.)

But I can do something else: I can paint some of the things I love, as I've shown in the previous posts. Today, I finished my latest painting depicting M20 or Trifid Nebula. When I was a kid, one of my biggest sorrows was that you can't see this nebula from Finland (well, you can but it's so close to the horizon that it's not much use). To see it was one of my biggest reasons to go to New Zealand. (Believe it or not!)

I'm happy to notice two things. Firstly, nowadays I like to make bigger paintings. And I'm not pursuing my perfectionism with such an urge anymore. When you look at the picture, it might sound rather weird to you. But I only used three sessions to paint it and I wasn't so detailed as I would have been a couple of years ago. For me to say that is something quite peculiar, but I guess I'm the only one who really understands what I mean...

But yes, the painting came out quite nice. And now I'm feeling high because of the varnish smell in my room. Yay.

M20 painting

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sometimes I'd love to get back to the age when coding meant something like sending Morse messages through the wires. I've been sitting by Dreamweaver for ages while trying to design and code new website for Turun Ursa, the amateur astronomer association in Turku. Today I finally got the pages online, you can view them here.

When starting a project, I always end up going backwards and starting from some completely random thing that eventually leads to the goal. Coding that site is actually part of my project for school. I need to live through a project that will give me 30 study credits, and I'm involved in creating an event called Tähtipäivät in Turku next spring. That event needs a website, but to get that working, I had to redesign the horrible horrible thing that was claiming to be Turun Ursa's website before. (I'm entitled to crucify it, I coded that...thing as well - before I started studying the field.) So, actually I got through rather easy. Normally I end up doing several other things before I even get to the point. Now I only have to do 740 more hours to fulfil the demand for those study credits. Yay.