Archive for October, 2009

How do you hide a penis?

October 27, 2009

In today’s world this question is not absurd at all!

Me and my friend were watching an episode of her favourite series on DVD and in this episode there was a lawyer dating this beautiful woman without knowing she used to be a man and that she still had a penis. She wore very tight skirts and we were wondering how it was possible it did not show the bulge.

I remember a rock band in the 90s (?) which posed for a nude photo, only with their guitars I think; they were all guys and had their private bits tucked in between their legs so that you could only see their pubic hair. (This by the way is called “mangina“, a new term I just learned from my workmate when I asked him if he remembered the name of the band.) This is one way of hiding a penis, I imagine, however, you would not be able to move freely like that.

My friend suggested perhaps one would use an elastic band to strap one’s penis to one’s thigh. Another solution, still not very comfortable.

Does anyone have any knowledge on the subject and would like to share?

And now for something completely different.

October 25, 2009

Cow-ar**

This is Scotland

October 25, 2009

Edinburgh is beautiful but to see the real Scottish landscape you have to go out of town.

pastures green

For more sheep like these but far funnier watch Shaun The Sheep!

I’m telling you, try the duck at Cafe Marlayne

October 23, 2009

If you live in Edinburgh and your girlfriend appreciates good home-made food, but you don’t feel like cooking on that particular evening, take her to Cafe Marlayne.

I first came across it while browsing online reviews, looking for a place  to eat for a small family celebration.  People left praising comments but I never went there until recently. I was wondering around the city and got starved in the end, and remembered about this small, family-feel restaurant in Thistle Street. I love its cosiness, and I am sure that the manager is also the chef.

They managed to find us a table on a Saturday, although we did not have a reservation. We had only an hour (we had tickets to a festival show) so we went straight for the main course. We got some amazing fresh bread with butter, before our main meal came. And the duck breast was won-der-ful! The skin was brown and crispy and the meat was pink in the middle. It was served with red cabbage (just how my gran makes it) and accompanied by seasonal vegetables on a separate plate and young potatoes on another one.

The trick is, they change they menu every week; plus it is hand written and hard to read, haha! If you have the option then, go for the duck!

Dean Gallery

October 22, 2009

I like walking to the the Dean Gallery or Gallery of Modern Art. I don’t necessarily want to spend time in stuffy interiors when the weather is almost nice or close to sunny (c’mon, it’s Scotland) so I go for a walk to one of the galleries. They are opposite each other so either of them will do.

at dean gallery

I love these well-groomed lawns and the sculptures outside and the fact there are not many other people there (hey, it’s not a shopping centre!).

work

Now if you were expecting to find a description of the exhibitions here, you had better check their website.

Someone has to say this

October 22, 2009

A few weeks ago they were showing this general on BBC saying that he asked Gordon Brown for further 2,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan, and felt he had to step down having been refused. (Articles can be found on this, e.g. on BBC website.)

After a while, the prime minister agreed to deploying additional 500 soldiers. Now why was this not done straight away? Why only a quarter of what had been requested? Gen Sir Richard Dannatt would not have asked for more soldiers, had he not consider it crucial. And one would think he had first hand experience and knowledge on the subject, being in the front line, and should know better what is needed than someone stuck in an office.

It seems that they don’t really want to end this war. They want to keep it going. (I am not trying to say it is easy to end it and bring peace in Afghanistan.) Did you never wonder how much of your country’s income  comes from the arms industry? Have you ever checked if your money is not being invested in the arms industry?

Information on military expenditure and arms trade are being gathered by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. However, as SIPRI informs, their military expenditure data are based on open sources and a voluntary questionnaire. It’s like you wanted to know how many Poles there are in your city and official figures would tell you e.g. 11% but when you’re walking  down the street every third person you pass seems to be speaking Polish. Still, you can find out many interesting details from their reports.

Of course no sane company director will admit investing in warheads, and it is very difficult to find realistic data on it, too.

I am deviating from the topic now, my point is war means business for some, and suffering for others. Those profiteering from other people’s misery have no conscience. First step towards improvement is being aware of what’s really going on.

Edinburgh’s West End

October 21, 2009
florist william street

The area to the West of Princes Street in Edinburgh incorporates what is called the city’s West End. You can still call it central, yet it’s slightly beyond the main shopping and tourist tracks – perfect for a Saturday lunch with friends, a drink or a short walk in a charming Victorian  neighbourhood.

There is one street I particularly like: William Street. Because of the cobbles and little traffic it seems relaxed and cosy, and its little shops with selected goods you won’t find anywhere else give it an upmarket feel. An unusual combination!

DSC_0231longpers

There are a few expensive clothes shops where I sometimes dare to window-shop, including one with cute designer baby items called Vanilla Bloom. There is a pretty little florist Lilium and a new cake maker’s Liggy’s with a window display you cannot go past without having a peek (yumm).  If you enojoy drinking wine, you can get a bottle from the huge selection in the shop next to Liggy’s. Shops in one of the blocks have the same cream frontage and together look fabulous, too.

Going further on you will find some pubs and opposite them there is a Scottish bistro A Room In The West End (a sister of A Room In Town located at Howe Street which I have been to and recommend with a clear conscience).

DSC_0226long

If you take a few more steps, you will get to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral (Church of Scotland) which is a stunning Victorian Gothic monument.

st mary's episcopal cathedral

From the West End there is a good access to the Water of Leith, however, only the locals or someone in the know will be able to find one of the inconspicuous entrances, e.g. the gate next to the bridge on Belford Road near Dean Gallery or the one hidden away down from Magdala Crescent. Now, this is a scenic route for a walk, but that’s another story…

Can I use other brands’ lenses with my Nikon?

October 20, 2009

Ymmmm…. the answer is: better not try.

I need to get another lens for my camera, a fast lens that will allow me to take nice portraits.  I currently use a Nikon and was wondering if I can use another make lens with it (e.g. some older Russian lens – they are regarded as good and sturdy, and might be bought cheaper than other).

Well, different brands use different mounts and in most cases you need an adapter to fit them onto your camera.  Unfortunately, Nikon’s body is one or two milimeters thicker than most other brands and, after reading a lot about it, I concluded there is no point in trying.

Whether you own a Nikon or a different camera, there are certain disadvantages to using an adapter. Most adapters are just a piece of metal (some have a glass element) and they break electronic communication between lens and camera body. As a result, your cannot use automatic programming and the camera won’t tell you which aperture to use. You also need to set focus manually.

I found some sources which cover this topic very well. On Cameraquest you can read about it and they also sell a huge range of adapters. There is also an online article by Karen Nakamura which I recommend; it will give you an indication on what will work with your camera.

An important detail I managed to find out is that adapters without a flange (collar) that fits between the lens and the lens mount on the camera body will actually let you focus to infinity. There are adapters that fit completely inside the mount opening and do not create an extra thickness between the lens and the body – however, they might not be available for all lens-camera combinations.

I am trying to find out if there is any loss of quality of a photo with a lens adapter. Any comments welcome.

Salsa dancing in Edinburgh

October 19, 2009

I am going to salsa class tonight! It’s fun and… I also count it towards my weekly excercise routine. No, it’s not cheating at all, during class you can actually get sweaty at times!

If you are looking to learn or practice salsa in Edinburgh, I can recommend a couple of places. These are mostly drop-in classes, so you only pay if you show up. There is a good class in Cuba Norte in Morrison Street. It is tought by Orlando who is from Puerto Rico – he knows his moves! He is nice and funny. The atmostphere there is great!  Classes are from Monday to Thursday from 7 p.m. and there are three levels of difficulty (beginners, improvers and intermediate). There is usually a dance night after all the classes. The good thing is you don’t need to worry about lack of a partner – you just need to bring your enthusiasm.

Another class I can definitely recommend is lead by Sagi in City Cafe near Hunter Square. It used to be on the ship-restaurant “Cruz” at the Shore. This one also takes place on weeknights. Once a week they do rueda class which is another kind of salsa (main difference: it is danced in a circle). Rueda is brilliant fun, especially with Sagi who has an amazing personality. If you want to have a peek at his website, go to Salsasuave. (This was actually my favourite class but the times don’t suit me any more.)

A friend of mine goes to Jongleurs Comedy Club at Omni Centre to learn salsa and, judging by her dancing abilities, the teacher (a Scottish guy called Gerry) must be alright but I have heard from reliable sources that he’s sleazy and keeps asking girls if they want to have one night stand with him. Honest. On one occasion I have seen him in action myself. I’m not planning to go to Jongleurs any time soon…

Just last week a new class started in Medina, near Bristo Square, with a sweet girl called Paola, and this one I think is mainly for beginners. I’m sure they also have some evening class in El Barrio in Rose Street, although every time if went there it was full of women following the steps of some hot tanned guy. Too crowded anyway.

I bet this is not all. Plus, if you are looking to enroll in a regular class, the best place would probably be Dancebase in Grassmarket.

If you can recommend any other course, please let me know!

 

Thank goodness we have water

October 18, 2009

Hi there! Witam! Hiya!
How are you today?

It’s a lazy Sunday at my end and I’m writing my first blog entry. I don’t want to just babble away, I want to share things I consider useful or important. So this first one has to be about water. There are two things which might seem obvious but are ignored; I can confirm them with own experience.

First, a health tip. It is important to drink water. The best is bottled still water, however, here in Scotland you can get water of decent level of cleanliness and not bad taste from the cold water tap (provided the pipes are not lead) and this is what I do.

water flowing from tap

Usually the first point they make in articles on healthy lifestyle is that you should drink 2 litres of water per day and that includes juice and herbal teas etc. I only appreciated it when I started getting these horrible headaches. All my GP had to say was “drink water”. “Thanks a lot” I thought and felt like laughing (or crying) but then I started having water instead of my six cups of weak tea per office day. It was a marvelous discovery when I knew it had helped! (Oh, I have to add, those fizzy drinks do you harm you don’t even realise plus – did you know – a can of coke contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar!)

Secondly, a beauty tip. So simple but not many appreciate that cold water is the best face toner. You know how there are three steps to a healthy, fresh, spot-free face? You cleanse it first and at the end splash lots and lots of clean cold water on your face to tone the skin, gently dry it with a towel and then apply moisturiser. Cold water closes pores and freshens up the skin; it induces blood circulation (again, makes you feel refreshed) and also reduces swelling and appearance of dark circles under the eyes. You can give up your toning liquids and save some money. Brilliant, huh? Works for me, anyway!

Water droplets

P.S. Just watched news on BBC and tonigth they talked about shortage of water in China. How lucky are we to have it in abundance!