(mis)reading the signs

For whatever reason, I enjoy the iconography of signs, and find myself including them in many of my photos. I especially enjoy seeing the varied signs in other countries. Often the meaning is clear, or at least familiar. Other times, the signs are more cryptic and I can only guess at the meaning. And still other times, I enjoy just making up the meaning for the sign. (And hope that the sign I’m chortling about isn’t warning me of my impending demise.)

Since I’m on a roll with my photos from last June’s trip to Poland, I’m sharing a few photos from that trip.

First is one of my favorites: No parking in this tree. no-tree-parking

I read this sign below as a general exclamation. Whether of alarm or enthusiasm, I can’t be sure. (Google translate tells me that “wyjazd z budowy” means “departure from construction,” which doesn’t enormously clarify for me. Perhaps it is just a diversionary tactic.)

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This sign in Warsaw clearly means “look up at that cool tower.”

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Next we have a neatly stacked display of signs. The top one, clearly, indicates that yellow squares should be displayed at a jaunty angle. Below that is an public service message to keep a wide stance and swing your arms while walking. The meaning of the yellow sign below, though, isn’t completely clear to me. It appears to be a person holding some sort of object. giant-lolly

AT first I thought it was a girl with a pony tail, wearing a dress, and holding a balloon. But on closer inspection, I think it may be a bald man struck in the back of the head with some unknown object, wearing hammerpants. But I have no idea what the object in his hand is.

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This sign in my hotel is Poznan is a weather forecast that must at least be right on occasion. (Fine, it means “elevators.”)

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Finally, this sign was for a convenience store. Obviously, it is aimed at cornering the market on frog supplies. I’m not sure whether the intended patrons are frogs, or just people who like frogs. In any case, this is a very happy looking frog.

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And now it’s after 11, and I can barely hold my eyes open. I will read this as an unambiguous sign that I should not park my frog in any trees. (Or that I should get to bed.)

fairytale scene under construction

Warsaw is a fascinating and beautiful city, with many stories to tell. It is also filled with many spots that look like they were taken right out of a fairytale. Even this construction site I came across the evening I arrived looked like it was from a storybook page.

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The sun sets on the fairytale scene, still under construction.
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Gilded building blocks, ready to complete the enchanted scene.
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Fairytale roads require precision construction.
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Somehow even the graffiti-covered dumpster appeared slightly magical in the golden light.
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Fairytale onlookers over the construction zone.

The next day, I walked the same way, and the scene looked only slightly less storybook-like by day.

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Fairytale construction work by day. (You didn’t really think it was elves, did you?)

There were other places around the city, as well, where it was clear that a lot of maintenance goes on behind the scenes in a fairytale. Someone has to take care of the magical creatures, after all.

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Taking a break from the care and maintenance of magical creatures.

(These photos were from my June 2018 trip to Poland. More to come soon. Probably.)

spider, bird, party

You might be wondering about that seemingly random list of words: spider, bird, party. In my head, they aren’t random, though. They have a sort of roundabout connection.

For a start, our house is still decorated for Halloween. We kind of went all out this year, as the kids hosted a bit of a party for some friends a couple of weeks ago. And one of our major Halloween decor themes is spiders and their webs. Here’s a sample.

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Giant spider and web.

We also tend to have a lot of bird-related things. For Halloween, we have some various crow, raven and black bird items, such as the wreath below.

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A wreath of black birds.

But aside from that, the connection between the words for me is a bit more of a tangle. Yesterday’s photo of a bird statue with a spider web reminded me that the words for bird (ptak) and spider (pająk) in Polish are two that I have gotten mixed up before. In case you are wondering why I have had the occasion to mix them up at all, I’ve been casually studying Polish using DuoLingo. (I had a conference in Poland last year, and I started the study as a bit of preparation for the trip. And I’ve just been continuing, with no concrete goals aside from learning some of a new language.)

But thinking about the various ptak and pająk items we had up for our party also reminds me of the most surprising word I’ve learned so far in Polish. The word impreza means party. It just so happens that I have been driving an Impreza (a Subaru Impreza) for the last 14 years, and had no idea it was a party.

Below is a photo I happened to have in my phone of the impreza.

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Impreza: a party?

(I sometimes take a photo of my car in parking garages to remind myself of where I’ve parked. Usually I delete it afterwards, but I happily I still had this one. Because what’s a party if you don’t have photos to show for it?)

So there you go.

fashioning a fascinator

I’m rather fascinated by the term fascinator. It’s a much more fanciful expression than “funny little fancy hat.” In any case, I fashioned myself a fascinator from a fluffy little friend. Well, really, I just took one of our many spider decorations, and fastened it atop my head. I felt it worked just fine.

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I don’t often post photos of myself on this blog, but when I do, there tends to be some sort of creature on top of my head.

bringing ideas to light

I was hoping that posting daily again would bring some ideas to light. For a start, I had the idea to look for some photos of light. I found this one, which I think shows that some spiders had a pretty bright idea (if spiders can be said to have ideas).

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If these aren’t examples of effective web design, I don’t know what is.

potato eyes (and other features)

I was preparing dinner one evening earlier this month, and this potato caught my eye.

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In fact, the potato’s eye caught my eye. And its eyebrow.

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A few nights later, I was again cutting potatoes, and once more, a potato caught my eye. And looked back at me pleadingly.

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Tell me you don’t see the face.

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“She must be running out of ideas,” you may be thinking. “Surely she can find something to post about beyond potatoes.”

If you think I’m posting about potatoes because I’m tired and out of ideas, you are only partly right. In fact, this was a planned potato post. At least a partially planned potato post. You see, I have a past of presenting particularly peculiar produce. Witness the sad potato of 2015, the jaunty butternut squash of 2012, and the shifty-looking eggplant of 2011. Somehow, I managed to post each of these on November 21st in years past. This year, though, I guess I forgot. In spite of having prepared the potato pictures, the 21st past with nary a vegetable. (Out of curiosity, I checked the dates when I took the potato photos above. Oddly enough, it was on November 8th and November 13th. And while I did not post them on the 21st, I do notice that the sum of 8 and 13 is 21.) (And really, this part is just me rambling on because it’s late.)

 

When in doubt, post a trout

 

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A fish sculpture in Paris. 2007.

When it gets late, and it gets tired, I typically find I don’t have the energy to do actual writing. All too often, this is what motivates me to post photos. Not to say that I don’t often have photos that I want to share, but posting photos over text has been my default when I’m tired.

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The Majestic Cod of the Massachusetts State House, Boston. 2016.

And then I try to come up with a catchy title. But sometimes, a catchy title catches me. And makes me laugh a little inside. And makes me hunt down (or in this case, go fishing for) appropriate content to go with it. When in doubt, post a trout.

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A gleeful boy taking a grouchy fish for a joyride. As seen on a bridge in Paris. 2007.

And so it was that I remembered that I have quite a few fish photos. Even more specifically, I have a bunch of photos of fish statues and sculptures, taken over quite a long period of time, and in quite a few different locations. (I was sorry to not find any fish sculptures in my photos from Asia, so it looks like I have only 2 continents represented. Unless you want to consider this startlingly shiny gold fish furniture from my hotel in Shanghai.

 

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A shark shack in small town near Dublin, Ireland. 2014.
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A surprised looking fish in Boston. Probably not a trout. 2016.

But I have a terrible confession to make: while I may have lots of photos of fish, I really don’t know whether there is a trout among them.

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A deranged looking fish in London. Almost certainly not a trout. 2005.
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A fish bone sculpture from the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts. 2012

So, what say you? Can you find a trout among today’s catch?

achievement unlocked: bowl of lemons

 

 

img_3049At some point in the last few months, I came across a list post that amused me enough that I not only remembered it, but referred back to it a few times: 15 Tips That Will Trick Your House Guests Into Thinking You Have Your Shit Together . In particular, I liked this item: “8. Get the biggest bowl in your house and fill it with lemons.” It may not be the biggest bowl in my house, but I did indeed fill (sort of) a (somewhat) big bowl with (actual) lemons. Sadly, I neglected to properly highlight this achievement to my dinner guests.img_3336

Once again, I’m too tired from a long day of food shopping and food prep to come up with a new thing for which to be grateful. I’m grateful again for sleep (which I’m about to achieve), reading (which I may manage to do for a few minutes before sleep), and food (which I enjoyed eating following the preparation).

Tomorrow, I have more food preparation ahead of me, in anticipation of more guests on Thursday. I may not manage to get everything organized enough to convince my guests that I have my shit together, but at least I’ll have the bowl of lemons.

The 2016 Republic of Pants election

The time has come once more for the Pants Republic to change its pants. Another 4 years have passed since the re-electon of Corduroy O’Bloomer to the Seat of the Pants government after his first election 8 years ago. This year, after another embarrassing fashion show, the Pants Republic’s two major fashion houses have chosen their candidates: Pantsuit Linen and Doubleknit Trousers.

Pantsuit Linen is a garment of a feminine cut as yet not seen covering the Seat of the Pants Republic. Pantsuit Linen is well known to the public eye, known first nationally as the First Raiment to previous Pants President, Twill Linen. Pantsuit, as her supporters like to call her, has also had other important roles in the National Pants Governement, both as elected garment, and as an appointee to the O’Bloomer Wardrobe. Pantsuit has long fought for the representation of skirts and shorts in the Republic’s wardrobe, as well as access to laundry care for all.

Doubleknit Trousers is known to the public eye for more for his showiness and his attention-grabbing appearances in commercials and catalogs, rather than for any material contributions to Pants society. Trousers boasts of having deep pockets and the best tailoring, but his claims have been unsubstantiated due to his refusal to show either his pattern or content tags. Many are unimpressed by the flashy gold stitching of Doubleknit’s style. While his fans claim his tendency to come unzipped in public show that his pants are relatable, others have been embarrassed and offended by what lies behind the zipper. It has been shown on many occasions that Doubleknit’s orange polyester fabric is threadbare, that it snags easily, exposing the tacky and often indecent fabric of his lining. His tendency to come unravelled at the slightest provocation is not only unflattering, but has demonstrated that his cut is unfit to cover the Seat of the Pants Republic.

Both candidates have been accused of breeches of decorum, and many rumors fly. Doubleknit was responsible for weaving rumors that O’Bloomer is a muslin and was sewn abroad, in spite of the manufacturing documentation to the contrary. Doubleknit has further torn the Pants of the Republic apart through giving priority to Pants of the traditional cloth and color of the Old Chaps Club, and devaluing pants of more diverse origins and hues or imported styles. On the other leg, many Doubleknit supporters question the integrity of Pantsuit’s construction, in spite of decades-long inspections of her fabric, thread, and stitching. Pantsuit’s sturdy tailoring has stood up to many attempts to shred her fabric, but she has not shown herself to be impervious to stains on the fabric of her character. Many feel that she has revealed too much of the warp and weft of the Pants Nation’s Undergarments, and much attention has been paid to her Briefs. Her biggest detractors argue that she should be belted.

Overall, the Pants of the Republic are stretched thin and uncomfortable around the waist, and all are ready for this election to be over. Shopping for pants is often demoralizing, but it has never been harder to for this nation to find a pair of pants that fits all.

Tonight I am grateful for laughter, and thankful that I can still find humor in these stressful days of the US election.