Monday, January 31, 2011

31/365: Lightbulb

31/365: Lightbulb
31/365: Lightbulb, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 31st

Undoubtedly displeased with the high price of replacing a cracked window, the owners of this lamp store found an ingenious way to patch the hole.

30/365: Cat at night

30/365: Cat at night
30/365: Cat at night, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 30th

Zulka is still a bit groggy from her operation, but she has been busy licking away at the bandage. I doubt it will stay on much longer...

29/365: Workspace

29/365: Workspace
29/365: Workspace, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 29th

A bit dark. I need to get more lamps in here.

I was in all weekend working on the project that's hung up on the line there, so that's why my latest photos are badly lit and boring. That's DS9 on the screen, btw, I need something to glance up at while I draw, and there's nothing like a good old cheesy space opera. I was going to watch SG-1, actually, since I've seen DS9 already but it was just as bad as the movie.

28/365: Post-op

28/365: Post-op
28/365: Post-op, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 28th

Just a fixing, but she's taking time to sleep it off. It must hurt, poor thing, and the bandage is not comfortable.

The vet I first took her to said I should wait until the first heat before fixing her, which apparently is completely wrong. The other vet (where I got Oli from) says they fix all the kittens as soon as possible. Seems like every clinic has its own methods...

In any case, she is done, and now I have three sexless cats in the house.

27/365: Gratka

27/365: Gratka
27/365: Gratka, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 27th

The horse I rode today. She's called Gratka, which is a derivation of the word 'gratis' (latin 'gratiis' meaning 'out of kindness'). 'Gratis' nowadays means 'free of charge'. In Polish, 'gratka' will be the word you use to describe something which was a really great opportunity, something you just had to grab as soon as you saw it because it was such a good deal. 'Ale gratka!' you might exclaim, when the universe gives you a present and asks for no extra charge. What luck!

Gratka is a nice horse, a bit round, a bit slow, and a bit lazy, but that's all right. I'm a beginner, I need a patient horse who doesn't mind a stupid rider.

26/365: Deer Oli

26/365: Deer Oli
26/365: Deer Oli, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 26th

Silver deer and One-Eyed Oli. He's so dark he looks like one of those sootpixies from Totoro.

25/365: Warm Ice

25/365: Warm Ice
25/365: Warm Ice, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 25th

A relic of the socialist days, invented as a local substitute for italian soft ice, warm ice cream is not actually ice cream but egg whites whipped with sugar and vinegar. I am very fond of this dessert, though it is insanely high in calories, so sweet it makes you dizzy, and has practically zero nutritional value...

24/365: The kids

24/365: The kids
24/365: The kids, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 24th

Littlest Cat and Little Cat, aka One-eyed Oli and Zilly 'Zulka' Catzilla. On my bed, of course, where else.

23/365: Little shantytown

23/365: Little shantytown
23/365: Little shantytown, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 23rd

2011 is certainly turning out to be the Year of Abandoned Places. Here is a little cluster of trailers and shacks, empty under the snow. I was careful in approaching but I didn't have to get very close to know nobody was there. If I didn't go further it was because of the snow. So thick, it could hide wells and pits and other hazards. I wasn't in the mood to break a leg.

22/365: Parking garages with Hospital

22/365: Parking garages with Hospital
January 22nd

The green building in the background is the most visible structure on the North-East side of town, and beyond it- if you ever go cycling in the fields outside Łódź, be sure you will never get lost as long as you can still see The Hospital.

It's notorious. It has been under construction since 1975. In the late eighties, progress slowed due to many things- money was redirected elsewhere, resources were lacking...
Many floors were left unfinished, empty, haunting.

They finally opened up part of it last year, but it is not yet finished. A ghost hospital. I wish I'd thought of creeping inside earlier; now it's probably neither as interesting nor as easily accessible.

21/365: Another building condemned

21/365: Another building condemned
January 21st

Though it was already abandoned a year ago, and I think long before then:

On the corner

Further down, it's a ghost building, an empty shell:

Ghost town

Friday, January 21, 2011

20/365: Snowy trees

20/365: Snowy trees
20/365: Snowy trees, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
January 20th

So, even though I am trying to win a trip to the North Pole (your votes are welcome, by the way) it's not because I don't get to see any snow at home. Mid-deluge, winter decided to make a comeback.

I just happened to have a riding class today, and it's way out on the edge of town, right by the airport, where there's lots of wilderness. I'm happy I was up before the snow melted off the branches.

Some more photos from that day:
Snowy morning



This is where I was glad to have my big tall wellies:

Morla in winter

The quickest way for me to get to the stables is to take the bus to the airport and then follow a shortcut around the fence.

Flooded shortcut

The Lodz airport is very small for a city this size, with only one runway and a handful of planes a day, so it's nice to catch one without planning for it.


Like I said...very glad I had my wellies.

So maybe I look silly in my knee-high rubber wellies

Thursday, January 20, 2011

19/365: Alder the Cyclops

19/365: Alder the Cyclops
19/365: Alder the Cyclops, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
January 19th

Or Olsza, Oli, Olinek. New kid in the house. Foundling from the Bałucki flea market. One eye and a chunk of his right ear lost to an infection. Zulka is furious that she is no longer the littlest cat.

She'll just have to get over it. :)

(dear family, don't worry, this is the last cat I am taking. Three is my limit.)

This is what he looked like a month ago, still wild and scared:

334/365: One-eye

And the North Pole? It's getting closer!

250 Votes!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

18/365:Natural History

18/365:Natural History
18/365:Natural History, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
January 18th

Marta has been working hard all day, and so in the evening we went to get some beer and popcorn and spent a couple of hours in the kitchen, looking at all the nasty creepy crawly crustaceans in my natural history picture books.

And my North Pole Campaign? It's going very well, thank you! But I need more votes...

180 votes!


Help me go to the North Pole!

(Scroll down for the English version, please!)


Otóż mam szansę płynąć na Biegun Północny. Nie, nie żartuję, poważnie.

Firma Quark, która specjalizuje się w ekspedycjach polarnych ogłosiła konkurs literacki. Kto mnie zna, wie że co nieco napisać potrafię...Główną nagrodą jest stanowisko oficjalnego blogera podczas letniej wyprawy na Biegun Północny.

Jako jedyna Polka biorę udział w tym konkursie. Pierwszy etap polega na głosowaniu-żeby stanąć przed jury, muszę znaleźć się w pierwszej piątce.

Czyli potrzebuję około 1000 głosów.

To wcale nie tak dużo.

Pomóżcie mi! Głosujcie na mnie! Powiedzcie znajomym, niech też głosują. Pomacham Polską flagą na szczycie globu, przywiozę wspaniałe zdjęcia i szkice.

Jak głosować?

1.Wejdź na stronę

2. Pod moim wpisem kliknij 'Login or Register to Vote'

3. Jeśli masz konto na Facebooku, kliknij po lewej 'Connect with Facebook'.

4. Po krótkiej weryfikacji danych powinieneś znaleźć się z powrotem na stronie Tam kliknij 'Vote for this Entry' pod moim zdjęciem z żółwiem!

Bez facebooka też można głosować, ale wtedy trzeba zarejestrować się na stronie Quark- punkt 3, po prawej ;)

UWAGA: Można głosować tylko raz na mnie, pięć pozostałych głosów jest do oddania na innych...ale to już zostawiam waszej decyzji ;)

Kilka słów o mnie: Mam 27 lat, jestem absolwentką wydziału animacji Łódzkiej PWSF. Od czterech lat prowadzę pamiętnik fotograficzny . W 2008 roku coś mi odbiło i popłynęłam jako ochotnik w półroczny rejs repliką osiemnastowiecznego statku Bounty, trafiłam wtedy aż na Galapagos. Czyli w tropikach już byłam, równik widziałam, teraz chcę zobaczyć miejsce, z którego można iść tylko na Południe!

Zobacz moje zdjęcia z rejsu wielkim żaglowcem:

i rysunki z mojego morskiego szkicownika:



Dear friends,

Help me board a cruise to the North Pole!

The Polar expedition company Quark has organised a contest to pick an official Polar Cruise blogger.

I am taking part. So far I am the only person from Poland...and I need your votes! Before the jury even looks at my application I must wind up in the top five.

I need lots of votes! About 1000, actually. Will you help me?

How to vote:

1.Go see my application at

2. Scroll down to find 'Login or Register to Vote'

3. If you have a Facebook account, on the next screen, click 'Connect with Facebook'.

4. After your connection is made, you should find yourself once again on Click 'Vote for this Entry', it's right under my photo with the tortoise!

You don't need a Facebook account to vote, you can also register directly with the Quark website.

And who am I? I'm 27 years old, and a graduate of the animation department at the Polish National Film School in Lodz. I have been keeping a daily photo journal for the last four years. In 2008 I did a crazy thing and boarded a replica of the 18th century tall ship HMS Bounty. I sailed for six months to the Galapagos and back. I've seen the Equator, now I want to see the North Pole!

A link to my (daily!) photos from the six month sea voyage

A link to the sketchbooks I kept on the journey

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

17/365: Expedit Cat

17/365: Expedit Cat
17/365: Expedit Cat, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 17th

I've wanted Expedit bookcases for a while now. You can quote Fight Club at me 'til your face turns blue, I like IKEA furniture. Not exclusively, I browse pawn shops like any proper Lodzian (Lodziite?) should, but very often Ikea has EXACTLY what I need.

This is one of two shelves I found sitting in the 'Damaged and Display' section, just waiting for me to adopt them. If you count the drawer and closet modules, I paid less for both than I would have for one.

And Zulka likes them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

16/365: Mound of snow

16/365: Mound of snow
16/365: Mound of snow, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 16th

That's all the snow from the Manufaktura shopping centre parking lot piled up in one huge, dirty mound. I kinda wanted to climb it, but we were in a hurry.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

15/365: Bad photo of good furniture

15/365: Bad photo of good furniture

January 15th

Again, keeping the 365 flowing. I'm not a pro. I'm a hobbyist. Bad, last minute photos are inevitable. Though I am a bit more ashamed of them this year than on previous years, so I guess I should try to keep them to a minimum.

The cabinet is really awesome. though. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

14/365: The Africanos bar

14/365: The Africanos bar
14/365: The Africanos bar, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
I didn't want to take my camera because I knew there would be drinking. But when I tried to take a picture with my phone, the battery died! So I used my ipod.

It's a horrible photo which shows nothing at all, but at least I didn't break my streak of one photo per day. In a 365 project, that's really important. It's better to take a bad photo than none at all, and you'll know it the very next morning when you say, 'Hm, well, I'm still on board', rather than 'Aw, man, I missed a day, is it worth continuing?'

Yes, it is, actually. But it's better not to miss a photo. ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

13/365: Łodzianka

13/365: Łodzianka
13/365: Łodzianka, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
January 13th

Łodzianka means woman from Łódź. Here she is at the train station on a misty Thursday afternoon. I don't know whether she's coming or going, or just taking a shortcut across the platform, but she definitely knows where she's headed.

More photos from around the train station:

EC-1 under construction

Train to Częstochowa


Blurry cyclist with plants

12/365: The milk machine

12/365: The milk machine
12/365: The milk machine, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 12th

A small farm arrived at our market with a milk machine. They milk their cows, they bring the stuff over in a special fridge, and you can pay to fill a re-usable bottle. :) Fresh milk from that same morning, bypassing the big dairies and a whole lot of packaging and processing on the way. More money for the small farmer, tastier milk for me. I love it.

They invited me to visit their farm in the spring- I'm up for that. It's a nice 60 km or so round trip, perfect for biking, and I want to see the cows. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11/365: Horses

11/365: Horses
11/365: Horses, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
January 11th

Third horseriding lesson. The snow melted then froze over again, so we couldn't go in the round pen because it was solid ice. However because we are total beginners the trainer said it wasn't a loss, we could just go longeing in the field and learn a bit of technique. In my world, that means 'try not to bounce around like a ragdoll while the horse trots'. I am not graceful. But evidently I am not hopeless, either, as she said that on friday's lesson we could ditch the longe and just ride by ourselves. So awesome. I have no idea what I'm doing but it's fun :D


Below, not me (no one to take pictures) but Kasia whom I share this New Year's Resolution with :D

Kasia and Gratka

"Now hug the horse"

Monday, January 10, 2011

10/365: The sun

10/365: The sun
10/365: The sun, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 10th

The choices were as follows: take pictures of the melting snow and the mountains of dog shit, or take a picture of the glowy sun.

I chose the sun.

9/365: Christmas Charity

9/365: Christmas Charity
9/365: Christmas Charity, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 9th

For the 19th time, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity played to save children's lives. Nineteen years ago, it was very small, just another charity event, but now the whole country takes part in the fun. It's amazing.

It works like this: for just one day every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers head out to collect money for the organisation.This money goes to a different medical cause every year- they buy ambulances, incubators... all sorts of expensive medical equipment needed in pediatric care. This year the theme was urology and nephrology.

To get people out on the streets donating, there are concerts and events all over the country which all end in fireworks at eight pm, and the whole thing has non-stop live coverage on TVP2, one of our national TV channels. Many, many companies donate their time and equipment so that people can have fun and drop a few coins into the boxes.

When you donate, you get a heart sticker. On that day you will see people walking around covered in hearts- some donate once, some put a little into several collection boxes. Little kids save their pennies and drop them in one by one. People give jewellery, auction off valuable mementoes.

Every year, the amount collected is higher. It always takes them a week or two to count all of the cash donations, proceeds from auctions, bank transfers. In 1998, when I was one of the volunteers, we raised 3.5 million dollars total, and we thought that was pretty swell.

Yesterday's amount, as of right now, is 12.2 million dollars.

In one day.

I absolutely LOVE this charity.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8/365: At home with perch and burbot

8/365: At home with perch and burbot

January 8th

I like to say I'm currently unemployed, but the actual truth is that I'm freelancing. It's nice, because I have lots of time to go outside and take pictures, but some days I do have to sit down and make a deadline.

The illustrations I've been doing recently are all going into schoolbooks, so it is rather important that the perch looks like a perch and that the burbot is not missing its fishy goatee. Enter my vast collection of picture reference books. That's an encyclopaedia of animals which my mum got me at a flea market. Very useful. Because google is good, but google plus books is better.

7/365: White

7/365: White
7/365: White, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.

January 7th

Someone covered up football club graffiti with white paint.

6/365:Crowds at Three Kings procession

6/365:Crowds at Three Kings procession
January 6th

For the first time in fifty years the Epiphany (Three Kings Day, or the famous Twelfth Day of Christmas) is a holiday in Poland. Three years ago, a foundation dedicated itself to organising a procession, and as you can see from the photo, it's a popular event despite the bitter cold. If you look closely you can see many people in the crowd wearing paper crowns; those were distributed by volunteers along with song books. In Poland, by old tradition carols are sung after Christmas, not before.

The whole thing is like a play with hundreds of actors. Three men on horseback are the Kings Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Their courts are color-coded: children in red capes and silver helmets for Caspar, who represents the continent of Europe, green capes and rice hats for Melchior who represents Asia, and blue capes and headscarves for Balthasar and Africa.

Preparing for the procession


Standards of the Magi

The courts gather by Sigismund's Column in the Old Town Square in Warsaw at noon for the Angelus prayer, then set out to walk to Pilsudski Square where a family acts in a live creche. Before they and the thousands of ordinary people following them can take their crowns off to pay respect to Jesus (who in Catholic tradition is the King of Kings), they first have to visit king Herod, then fight hordes of devils and be tempted to stray from the path.

Never fear: they are guided by the Star of Bethlehem.
Behind it walk hosts of angels (this year played by a school for the blind) and shepherds with a flock of sheep come straight from the mountains in the South.

Visitors from the highlands

Among them walked the Cardinal Archbishop and clergy, then mountain lifeguards, then a choir, then at last the hosts of the kings.

King Balthazar rides out

King Caspar rides out

King Melchior rides out

This year there was a bit of excitement with Balthasar, because a black man had volunteered to play the part. Poland is a very pale-skinned country; though it is not exactly uncommon to see black people anymore, their presence in media, politics and other public events still causes interest. When you see someone who is not white in Poland, your first thought is 'a foreigner'; but this year's Balthasar, a native Sudanese, has been living here since 1996. Maybe next year a man of Asian roots will step up to play Melchior?

Three Kings Procession
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