Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Historiens dårligste TV-oversettelse?

Comedy Centrals The Daily Show går på NRK2 på hverdagene. Anbefales på det sterkeste. Men tekstingen er ikke alltid på nivå med innholdet i programmet. Her kommer tidenes verste.

Dette er fra tekstingen til programmet som ble vist i USA 15. september i år. NRK2 ligger naturlig nok litt bak, og de viste dette 22. september.

Det Stewart faktisk sa er i svart, og tekstingen i rødt. Grøss.

We are back from vacation, and ... quite frankly, I feel a little unprepared.
Vi er tilbake fra ferie, og jeg føler meg litt uforberedt.

You know that the Super Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, they started it up this weekend, and ...
LHC-akseleratoren i Genève ble satt i gang nå.

... they were thinking it was gonna create a black hole, or maybe this antimatter that would, you know, completely eat up the earth.
For å lage et svart hull, og antimaterie som fortærer kloden.

And so ... I kinda fucked around a lot all weekend cause I thought ... Umm ...
Jeg gav f... hele helgen av den grunn.

Sort of like, you know, when you kinda don't study for a test, cause you're sure there's gonna be a snow day, and then ...
Sikkert umulig å prøvekjøre den, for det blir snøkaos.

Then you wake up, and you're like, Hey, where's that antimatter?
Man kunne spørre: "Hvor ble det av antimaterien?"

You know, and you feel all stupid cause you went on, what do they call it there, a tri-state killing spree.
Da føler man seg dum hvis man hørte på Tri-State Killing Spree.

Jeg sverger på tro og ære at jeg ikke har funnet på noe av dette. Jeg kan bevise det, jeg har det på DVD.

Det er altså innlysende at ordforståelse er én ting, og tekstforståelse en annen. Men forståelse i det hele tatt er en evne som visse personer åpenbart fullstendig mangler.

Det virkelig morsomme er at denne sekvensen også var med i showets Global Edition som blir vist på lørdager (reprise på søndag) ... og da var teksten en helt annet og langt mer korrekt. (Ikke at den kunne ha blitt noe mer feil, men. >:-) Så de ble faktisk klar over at de hadde tabba seg ut. Men ærlig talt, så fremt det ikke er aper de har til å gjøre denne jobben, så burde det da ikke vært mulig å gjøre sånne tabber. >:-(

Argh og knurr!!!

Mountain vacation 2008. August 17th

Yay, Sunday ... and warm and sunny! :-D Exactly as we'd hoped. So we packed our bags - that is, my Hitachi backpack that I got from a supplier at work ;-) - and set off on my favorite hike. This is a hike through varied and uneven terrain; it takes between three and four hours, depending on the pace you set. Its goal is a valley on the other side of lake Bergetjønn ... a valley that has two names, one official and one that's generally used. ;-) The official name is Skjerdalen (dal is the Norwegian word for valley) which I can't tell you the meaning of, and the name that you will more often hear is Villmanndalen - Wild Man Valley. :-) I'm not entirely sure where this name originated. But it's to do with the spectacular scenery in the valley which is bizarrely different from everything else in the area. The valley is narrow and its sides vertical cliffs; there is a great deal of water on the valley floor and cascading down the cliff walls. All of this combines to form a kind of natural greenhouse. The valley is enormously fertile compared with the surrounding area, and a number of plants grow there that aren't found anywhere else in Rondane. It is so weird being there ... you descend a short distance and suddenly it is as if you were in some other world. The plant life grows so wildly down there ... so many different plants and such abundant growth. At the far end of the valley, you ascend a few meters and you're back on the mountain plateau with nothing growing but moss and some stunted birch and juniper bushes. And the temperature may drop noticeably as you move from the protected valley and up onto the plateau. A very strange feeling.

Part of the path along the further side (to us) of lake Bergetjønn.

The far side of lake Bergetjønn. Mount Svulten in the background to the left.

A view of lake Bergetjønn from the far side. Bjørnhollia just visible. Taken from the cliffside on our way up to higher ground on the far side.

A view of mount Musvollkampen from the top of the cliff on the far side of lake Bergetjønn.

My mother on the top of the cliff, with lake Bergetjønn in the background. It's great for fishing, btw. :-)

A view towards Bjørnhollia from the top of the cliff.

We never bring anything to drink, because there are lots of brooks and streams along the way with wonderfully clean and cold water in them. We just bring little wooden cups to drink from. This is mine. It's ridiculously small ... but that's for a reason. We all had these cups made for us by my grandfather, my mother's father. He was a very talented woodcarver and he made (among many other things) these cups for everyone in the family. But then he died when I was only six years old. So my cup is made for the size my hand was when he knew me ... he never had the chance to make a bigger cup for an older and bigger me. There are lots of other wooden cups I could use, if I wanted to ... but I always use this one, because this is the one that he made for me. :-(

This is an old shieling, built entirely of stone, that is at about the halfway point on the way to the valley. We normally take a little break there. Fun story: this place was built as a shieling by some farmers from the Atna Valley (where Solvang is), but it isn't in the East Valley (which the Atna Valley is part of), it is in the Gudbrand Valley (the borders are tricky up there), and when people from the latter heard about this shieling they immediately set out to make sure it wasn't used by those pesky East Valley fellows. And it never was. It was never used by anyone from the Gudbrand Valley either - they didn't want it for themselves, they just didn't want anyone else to have it. (Typical!!! ;-) So it was just left to fall down for now almost a century. Oy vey ...

Finally, down in the valley.

My mother on the opposite side of the valley. She thought it seemed safer, but ...

... ended up having to cross the little river on the valley floor. She made it across OK, but wasn't entirely convinced of that when she set out. ;-)

Some views of the valley.

The waterfall at the halfway point of the valley. A lot of people turn back here, thinking they've seen it all. More fools they.

Me climbing the waterfall.

A view of the first part of the valley, seen from the waterfall.

A view of the second part of the valley.

A view across the mountain plateau just after we got back up there from the valley. Mount Musvollkampen in the center of the image.

A view of mount Musvollkampen from the nearer side (to us) of lake Bergetjønn.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Looking for a flea market?

Then I know where to go. ;-) Check out this site: www.loppemarked.info. It is an absolutely fantastic resource for flea market lovers. Lots of info about upcoming events, with contact info, how to get there, etc. It's not exhaustive, because the guy who runs it relies on people giving him information, and not everyone does ... ie, there may be things happening that aren't listed on that site. And of course the info is mostly focused on Oslo and Akershus (the county that surrounds the capital on all three landbound sides) ... partly because that's where the site owner is, I assume, and partly because this is where most of the action is. Like it or not. >:-) But over the past year or so the site's gotten much better at listing info on events elsewhere in the country too.

You can sign up to be notified about events via SMS, and there is also a forum on the site, although there isn't a lot of action there, but still ... it's there. :-) If you're looking to give stuff away, there's also a list of links of upcoming flea markets that are accepting items, with contact info etc. The site's been going for over three years and it's a fantastic resource for flea market addicts such as myself. ;-) If you're somewhere in Norway and you want to go to a flea market, that's the place to start. :-)

I didn't go to any flea markets this weekend - there were hardly any, since fall break started on Friday for all the schools in Oslo and Bærum. There was one, which I didn't take the time to visit ... and probably just as well, since I have way too many books and stuff as it is ... but fellow blogger RHJ did, and he's blogged about it here. I did go to three different ones last weekend, though, the reviews of which I have yet to write up, so brace yourselves. >:-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Moro på t-banen

Morsom historie fra virkeligheten.

I ettermiddag tok jeg t-banen ned til sentrum, jeg skulle treffe foreldrene mine og spise middag sammen med dem. Det var billettkontroll på Stortinget stasjon. (Forøvrig første kontroll jeg har opplevd på jeg vet ikke hvor mange måneder. Synd å si det, men det er jaggu meg ikke rart at folk sniker når det er så vanvittig vanskelig å bli tatt for det.)

Banen stoppet altså på Stortinget og kontrollørene kom ombord. På setene bak ryggen min satt det to unge menn som var veldig involverte i samtalen sin ... jeg fikk ikke med meg hva de snakket om, for jeg leste bok. ;-) Men de var veldig konsentrerte om det i hvert fall. Så de fikk ikke helt med seg hva som foregikk. Alle andre fant fram billetter og kort, men ikke de. Kontrolløren - en godt voksen pakistansk mann - kom bort til dem. De så litt forvirret på ham, og den ene sa: Hva skjer'a?

Da svarte kontrolløren - og denne syntes jeg var virkelig god: Nei, hva skjer'a? Doffen har daua.

Haha! :-D

De hadde billetter, forøvrig, så da var jo alt bare koselig. :-)

Two turtles begging

This is the first video I've shot with the new camera. Better??

That's Herman who's in the frame to begin with, and Henrik who comes swimming in from the right after a few moments.

What they're doing is they're begging for food. They eat every other day, and today is a feeding day, so they're hungry (well, more so than usual; they are allegedly always hungry ;-). I hand feed them and as a result they exhibit the learned behavior that you see here - they associate human fingers with food. Strongly, in fact. So when they want to show that they want something to eat, they bite my fingers. Or try to bite them through the glass walls of their tank, as you see here. :-) Because food comes out of my fingers, that's where it comes from in their world. :-)

Quote of the Week

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.
George W. Foote

Happy birthday to Google!!

Google is ten years old today. A little hard to believe. Time passes too quickly ...

The good folks at the world's favorite search engine have accomplished some pretty big things, I have to say. Congratulations to them, really. :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've got a new camera!!! :-D

Yay ... !! :-D

Don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but my camera's kind of crap. ;-) Especially when it comes to filming - it can only film for either 60 seconds, or, as I recently discovered, 180 seconds at a really shitty quality. The battery also isn't too good anymore and without decent lighting the camera seriously struggles sometimes. Other than that I'm really happy with it. :-) It is a good camera, I do like it, but it is four years old now, and, well, a lot of people I know are taking much better pictures than I am. :-( And pretty soon something awesomely cool will happen for which I really want to have a really good camera. So. Time to shop.

I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to get ... but I was in favor of something from Canon. While hanging out with KAS and trilltrall yesterday I was strongly urged to consider the new Canon Ixus. KAS' little sister has it and it's fantastic, apparently. :-) I don't know a lot about cameras ... or about stores that sell cameras ... but I had decided I would definitely buy a camera this weekend. And guess what, for once I was really lucky. My fellow blogger Gunnar Tjomlid is in Oslo this weekend - for a concert with some people I never heard about - and he'd offered to take me out for coffee. (Read: hot chocolate. ;-) I immediately decided to exploit the situation since I suspected that he knows way more about cameras than I do. And I was so right. We met up today and he took me to a great store that I'd never heard about but which had good prices on cameras and a really good selection. I picked a Canon Ixus 970 IS. It's supposed to be really good. It is, as far as I can tell. :-) I also got an 8GB memory card, so I guess I have years ahead of me now before I ever need to worry about camera memory again. ;-)

Have shopped, am satisfied!!

This is the first picture I ever took with the new camera. So far also the only, but I promise you it won't be the last. ;-) It's one of the chandeliers in the Winter Garden section of the Library Bar at Hotel Bristol, in which we had our coffee & hot chocolate. And a very pleasant conversation for a few hours, before I had to leave for my board game night and he to hang out with teenage girls in their hotel room. ;-)

Hey, I gotta start somewhere.

Thanks for helping, Gunnar!! I hope you'll have a good stay, it was great to meet up. :-)

Sorry about the hanging out with teens comment, but I just couldn't control myself. I hope it's a kind of syndrome, that would be cool. ;-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

'Which Witch' bitching, part two

So many things to bitch about – where to start … ?? :-D

Let’s see. How about the problems arising from the trimming of the story. I don’t see why it couldn’t have been left at original length. Hardly anyone has a problem with movies that last 140 minutes, why is it different for plays? I don’t get it. They have an intermission and everything. And the way they rush through the story means that a lot of nuances are lost. This will be the subject of today’s rant. >:-) If I don’t get totally sidetracked. ;-)

The week of the premiere, several influential newspapers ran reviews of the production. Naturally. These were mostly very good, one – in Aftenposten – was pretty bad. (No surprise, really. If you think I sound like a bitch sometimes, you should meet their theatre critic.) I reread that review yesterday. The things she writes about the original production - WTF? I think almost all of her criticism is really unfair … and I think it backfires, because I think all it shows is that she hasn’t understood the play.

If you think that WW is shallow, with no subtext, whatever, then you just haven’t been paying attention.

Alternatively, you don’t understand the historical setting, and you want to force the play into some kind of relevance to current affairs. Because modern always works, right? You can modernize anything if you’re just creative enough. Gag me with a spoon … ! >:-(

This production has been very modernized – extremely so – to the point where I for one felt like they didn’t understand the historical period, the Catholic Church, the finer points of the story, the characters’ motivations or the obvious symbology in the play as originally presented. Like the costumes. Oy vey, the costumes!! Aargh, the costumes … !!!

Basically, everyone wears white. Everyone wears white all the time except for a couple of characters who change briefly at the very end. During the Blessing scene, they dress up a bit – I won’t say anything about that, I’ll leave it for Anéa to dissect in the comments. ;-) Looked v. strange, certainly. This bugged me for three reasons.

One: I love seeing beautiful costumes in plays and movies. ;-)

Two: The lost symbology. The director and the costume people obviously haven’t understood this, but guess what: the colors actually mean something. :-o There is a point to it. Maria is blonde and fair and wears light-colored clothing – her white gown in the Blessing scene, various pastel-colored dresses later, the white shift. Anna Regina is dark-haired and dark-eyed and wears dark and severe gowns. Daniel, who is torn between the two, belonging to both, is dark in coloring and wears light-colored clothes. Do you get it? Huh? Do you get it? I’m sure you do, because it’s really, really obvious. >:-) And it is a pretty good help to the audience, even if they may not be consciously aware of what they’re seeing … my mother, who’s not very familiar with the play, specifically said that she found it difficult to get a real grip on the characters.

Three: The lack of understanding of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that this shows. An understanding which I, call me crazy, think is kind of important in this play. I mentioned yesterday that Giulia has been cut from this production. Well, so has Maria's grandpa, Pope Paul. :-o It’s Gonzaga instead who performs the blessing. I think this is for two reasons. First: keep it simple for the stupid audience. Fewer characters to keep track of. Establishing Gonzaga more firmly. Second: in Bø’s translation of The Blessing it obviously worked better to sing kardinalen in the chorus than to somehow work paven into it. Lazy bastard. >:-( But here’s where they screw up. This is something I would really like the costume people on this production to read. Because, you see, a cardinal dressed all in white – that is the pope. That’s how you know he’s the pope – because he’s dressed in white. If he’s a cardinal, he doesn’t wear white. Until he becomes pope; if he becomes pope. Cardinals wear red, that’s how you can tell that they’re cardinals and not the pope. And that’s why a certain shade of red is called … get this … cardinal. Duh.

Basically, this production is so modern that it’s lost its historical context and is just floating free in some timeless limbo. They claim that the prologue and the epilogue ‘anchor’ it, I think they said in some interview, to our own time and make it more relevant. BS, if you ask me. Those two little scenes didn’t seem to have much to do with the rest of the play at all. Are we supposed to think that the introductory character’s reading about Maria’s story because she herself suffers in the same way because of an arranged marriage type of thing? How does that make it relevant? When the actress is blonde and blue-eyed any such idea is just completely implausible. ‘Sorry’.

I think it’s important to understand the climate of Italy and Germany in the mid-1530s in order to be able to really understand WW. The current production team don’t understand those things, and they obviously disagree with me. It’s interesting.

Did I get totally sidetracked or what?? :-D Check back later tonight, and I’ll post a weird (but relevant) picture to make up for just rambling like this. :-)

Update with photo:

I think it may be tricky for anyone who wasn't there to guess what this is ...

Mountain vacation 2008. Lunar eclipse

On the night between August 16th and 17th, there was a partial lunar eclipse. I read about it in the paper on the Thursday. I said to myself that I've got to be sure to catch that ... ! but of course when Saturday night arrived I'd forgotten all about it. Typical. I suddenly remembered it again, though, just when I was about ready to call it a night ... and then, of course, the eclipse was already on the wane. :-( So I could have seen a substantially smaller amount of visible moon than I did in fact see. Remind me again what the big deal is with these things ... ?

Anyway! As the battery in my own camera was pretty much dying by this time, I'd switched to using my mother's newer and better one. And a good thing too, because that's why I managed to take this - IMO - really cool photo. The top one, with the branches. I like it. :-) With my own camera I took another really shitty picture (yeah, worse than these!) that I'm not going to bother to post.

Can it be true??

Have my misanthropy and negativism been misplaced?? :-o

Read this.

Can it be happening?? :-D

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mountain vacation 2008. August 16th

After all this text I think it's time for some pictures again. :-)

On the Saturday, the weather was very uneven - brief showers of rain, equally brief sunny spells, relatively warm, but rather overcast at times. Sometimes clear skies, then suddenly it'd start raining again, etc. We had a couple of our must-go hikes left, one of them an easier, shorter one and another that takes several hours and is more strenuous ... and which is much better in nice weather. We heard the weather forecast on the radio, and it indicated that on the following day, the Sunday, it would be warm and sunny ... so we decided to hope for that and postpone the longer hike till then. We had considered it for the Saturday. But the best laid plans of mice and men, et cetera. The kind of weather we had was actually pretty good for the shorter hike, because it involves climbing a small mountain with sparse vegetation and so isn't very comfortable when it's really warm and sunny.

The mountain in question is Mount Musvollkampen which I've already showed off from various angles. It's not a very big mountain - certainly far from it in that area! - but we're very fond of it :-) as it's such an integral part of the view that our cabin faces. A lot of visitors to Bjørnhollia, the converted shieling, now hotel, hike along the side of Mount Musvollkampen to get to their destination ... and of course we spy eagerly on these people with our binoculars. We have many questions. Do they have big backpacks, which mean that they'll probably be staying the night? Do they only have little day trip packs, but even so, what time of day is it, because they may be planning to stay for dinner? Do they have a dog? More than one? Which breed of dog? Inquiring minds want to know.

My father relies very heavily on these binoculars while he's at the cabin. I think he would be quite lost without them. It's like when he's at home, he watches too much TV, but when he's at the cabin, there is no TV, so then he spies on people instead.

On with the show!

Halfway up the side of the mountain there is a little tarn. We call it Kampetjønn, which means 'mountain tarn' ... so it's the same as that other tarn I posted about before, but we have different words for mountain. :-) This tarn isn't fed from anywhere so in hot summers it dries out. No worries about that this year ...

From the side of Mount Musvollkampen you can see our cabin across the valley. And if you shout from there, people on our property can hear you. And vice versa. You can have a conversation like that. Whether you'd want to is another question.

Mount Svulten seen from Mount Musvollkampen. You can see our cabin. :-)

A closer shot. A cabin somewhere in the greenery.

A view of Bjørnhollia from the side of Mount Musvollkampen.

Another old shieling, by name the Old Shieling :-), the other mountain tarn, and the river Myllinga. Seen from ... yeah.

The path up the side of Mount Musvollkampen.

My mother way up ahead. I got sidetracked by all this picture-taking.

The famous peaks of the Rondane massif. See the pointed one there? I've been to the peak of that ... !!! :-o

My mother on the first peak of Mount Musvollkampen. There is a little book in a box tucked away among the stones of the cairn; you can sign your name in it to show that you've been there. :-) Of course we always have to see who else has been there recently, before we sign ourselves.

The peak, the very peak! 1152 meters above sea level. Not very impressive considering that our cabin, across the valley, is at something like 950 meters. :-) See the field just to the right of the sign? That belongs to the family farm, Solvang. I don't think the farm buildings are painfully visible, but still. :-)

Musvolseter seen from the peak.

Lake Gjermundstjønn seen from the peak.

The Old Shieling, on our way back. Another lovely place that's not being taken proper care of. :-(

'Which Witch' bitching, part one

I really hardly know where to start.

First off, as an obsessive diehard fan, I do think this production is worth seeing. Partly because the chance to see WW produced is (sadly) so rare. But partly also because this is a collection of fantastic, wonderful, beautiful, gripping music, and hearing/seeing it performed by actors/singers with genuine talent and skill is a wonderful experience. So. If you like the play, I would recommend that you see this production. But maybe you should sit with your eyes closed. ;-)

OK, first things first.

The translation is … good enough. Mostly. Supposedly it’s by some guy I never heard of called Ola E Bø, but basically it’s an obvious reworking of Håvard Rem’s Norwegian lyrics from Satans kvinnfolk. Some additional text by Axel Hellstenius. This part I think sucks on principle because one of the facets of WW that I find so impressive is that they sing everything. There are like two spoken lines in the entire two hours, twenty minutes. Even if it’s just a two-word line, they sing it. In this production, though, there’s quite a lot of talking. So … less opera, more musical. IMO, personally, that’s a bad thing.

The cast. Those worth mentioning by name:
Maria Vittoria: Heidi Gjermundsen Broch
Bishop Daniel: Paul Ottar Haga (<3!)
Anna Regina: Gjertrud Jynge
Cardinal Gonzaga: Sigve Bøe
Gertrude: Ingrid Jørgensen Dragland
Anton Fugger: Niklas Gundersen

Plus various Roman nobles/German townspeople/etc.

Gjermundsen Broch is very good. She acts well, she has a beautiful voice, she looks the part. Jynge is … a wonderful singer, fantastic voice. She also looks the part … except for her hair and costume. >:-) She acts it completely horrendously wrong, but for that, I blame the director, Hilde Andersen. Haga … is fantastic, acting- and singing-wise, but – and I really don’t want to be saying this – I think he is really wrong for this part. Graham Bickley did it SO much better. Because what Daniel is, essentially, is a weak man. His inner core is weak, he has no steel in him. He lets himself be ruled over and controlled. He tries to rebel against this, but he doesn’t have what it takes to break free, and he fails. In the end I would say that he actually takes the easy way out. May not look like it, but still. I do think so. What he does seems brave, but it would have demanded more of him to live with himself. Anyway. Daniel is a weakling. But Haga in this role is a strong man who acts weak … if that makes sense. I didn’t buy it.

From the cast list above you may have noticed a conspicuous absence. There’s no Giulia. :-( She’s been written out of the play completely. Wrong decision IMO. (Quel surprise. >:-) She brings so much to the play – human warmth, comic relief, a voice of reason, a beacon of sympathy and light in the utter darkness that comes to surround Maria. The scene where the two meet again in Heidelberg is just heartbreaking.

My beloved friend! How wonderful!
We heard such dreadful stories. I couldn’t stay in Rome.
If only you knew the things that have happened here …

With the right actress, Giulia is a wonderful part, deeply rewarding for both the singer and the audience. But alas, she’s gone. As a result, the Gertrude character is rather different. Only in part the helpless, aging wise woman; also a clever cynic highly alert to danger and quick to attempt evasion. This interpretation weakened the character, IMO. It made her too twisted. And I deeply resent the implication (which does sometimes crop up in productions of WW) of any sort of genuine witchcraft attached to any character. I did see it in this production, and I heartily object to it. Society’s condemnation of these women is cruel to the extent that it is unfounded – if they truly have these arcane powers, condemnation can be justified. And the moral heart of this story is that Maria Vittoria dies a perfect innocent … while the true evildoer remains a respected leader of her community.

The plot has been slightly reworked – first and foremost, it has been shortened. From two hours twenty to … less than two. They must have cut half an hour. Bad choice. ;-) It makes the story very rushed, to the point where logic starts to fail. Events seem to happen way too quickly, especially at the end. It goes without saying that a number of songs have been cut. Both Overtures. :-o And, let me think … The Wedding Contract, The Herb Deal, The Spire, Bad Omens, all of the St John’s Eve scene except Spectral Evidence, several songs from the Sabbath, Cardinal Gonzaga, The End, Almighty God, Reunion and Hallelujah. (They’ve cut The End!! Sob!!) A number of other songs have been conflated to form more compact scenes … nuances being lost along the way. More on that later.

A couple of songs have been added. These are pretty good, but didn’t have the biggest impact on me. Not after just hearing them once. But I thought they were a pretty good fit. And they were performed beautifully. :-)

OK, I think this is long enough now. This is all very general. Don’t worry, though, I have a long list of more specific grievances to address … >:-)

'Which Witch' bitching, coming up

And plenty of it. >:-)

I've got SO much to say about this that ... yeah, I hardly know where to start. I've got so much I want to say that if I were to put it all in one blogpost it would be ridiculously long. I'm going to have to do this in instalments. :-D So that's what this post is about - it's a warning - consider yourselves served. This is probably going to be a good example of why I maybe shouldn't actually really have my own blog, but instead should just sit and stew quietly in a corner.

But I DO have a blog and you will all suffer for it!!! Bwahahaha!!

OK, so ... I'm going to be talking about the play in general, about this production and how they've altered it. About the cast, the costumes, the choreography, the direction, the interpretation of the characters and the interpretation of the plot ... and, of course, about the innumerable flaws made in all of these. >:-) I am an historian by education - the Middle Ages is my field of specialty - so I will also be touching on the history of witchcraft and the church a bit. They got that wrong too! >:-) Like I said, prepare to suffer. ;-)

To make up for my rantings to some extent I plan to offer you some illegal bootleg material available ... well, maybe not here exlusively, but not in a lot of other places, I shouldn't think. I made some recordings during the performance yesterday. >:-) Audio only, since I didn't want to be kicked out. I used my camera, which isn't very good, but I hope the results will be interesting to some of you anyway. Stay tuned, it's coming up soon.

Also, if there's anyone reading this who has no idea what Which Witch is but wants to find out: let me know. I can help you. If you've got a CD player and a mailing address, I've got the rest. :-)

The best way to travel!

My favorite driver drove me to work today.

I have never seen her, but I picture her as a blonde. She works for Ruter, the company that runs the public transport system here in Oslo. She rocks. :-) I take line 2 to and from work and when I realize she's the driver, I always get a little kick out of my ride.

What's so special about her? She's a talker. :-) Most of the subway drivers don't say anything beyond what they absolutely have to say.
Next stop is Parliament.
There will be a brief halt as we're waiting for a green light.
The doors are closing.
Next station will be Railway Square; transfers to Oslo Central Station and the Bus Terminal.
Not this woman, though. She really talks to us. She says things like, We're right on schedule at the moment, and that is very good just now in the middle of rush hour. We're grateful to our punctual passengers.
But even better, if you make her angry, she'll say things like this: We are half a minute behind schedule at the moment, and that is because of the young man in the blue jacket in the rear carriage who held the door for his friend at Brynseng station. I really think that's quite rude of you towards our other passengers who do show up on time, and I hope that you will be more considerate next time.

Am I right, doesn't she just rock? :-D

One time as I got off at my stop for work in the morning, I saw a piece of trash right by my feet. So I bent down and picked it up and put it in the garbage can by the entrance to the platform. And then the subway said to me, Thank you!

Absolutely made my day. :-D

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just got back from seeing 'Which Witch' ...

Was it worth seeing? Yes. It was absolutely definitely worth seeing.

Other than that? Let me put it like this. Which Witch can never be bad. It really cannot be bad. Because the music is so powerful; the play is technically so phenomenally strong.

But apart from that, this production really is incredibly bad. :-)

I really think it's worth seeing, but at the same time, there are so many things about it that suck that I don't know where to start. :-) I'll sleep on it and write more later.

Downtown weirdness

The Saturday before last I went to a couple of flea markets ... or, OK, three. Before that though I did something else which was much cooler. Even cooler than three flea markets - I kid you not. A couple of posts on that are coming up. But first, some random weirdness.

When I'd done the cool thing that I did and was going to find my way to the first flea market, I decided to cut across Karl Johan - Oslo's main street, named after our second Swedish king, who built the Royal Palace - to get a streetcar from Tullinløkka. This meant I'd walk across University Square and through the University Gardens. As I came up the steps from the square in front of National Theatre station, I spotted something weird across the street. I wasn't wearing my glasses, so ... something really weird.

Turned out there was some kind of science fair going on in University Square. So ... a giant inflatable dinosaur, why the hell not. :-D

Belated BookCrossing update

I am slow. Sorry. It can take me forever to answer an email or a letter or send out something I'm going to send out ... or make a dentist's appointment ... or blog about something I'm planning to blog about. I'll 'do it tomorrow'. But tomorrow never comes. :-( Better late than never, though, I hope.

Don't know if anyone remembers it, but I blogged about a couple of BookCrossing-related things a few months ago, and then never really updated that with how it all came out. So ... am finally salving my conscience by bringing you these fascinating updates now.

First the crappy new developments which led to my angry ranting post here. This was about how back in July some changes were made at the BookCrossing site. They were basically not good changes. Some of the new things were good, but at the same time restrictions were placed on other functions so that the new functions were rendered relatively useless. This was not just annoying, but IMO worrisome too, because it showed me that to some extent the Powers That Be at BookCrossing did not quite understand how the site actually functions. What's the point of giving us an interactive wishlist, if you're going to take away our communication? For instance. So I was worried. Scott, our then CEO, did not, in his very belated response, show a great deal of understanding of our grievances. Overall the response from the PTB was disappointing. Scott has since then left the position - I wish I could say I was sorry for that - and Bruce, one of the original founders of the site, took over as CEO. Since then, things have been quiet. Who knows what the future holds ... but I do think that there is a greater sensitivity in management now to the members' point of view. I hope so. We can BookCross without BookCrossing.com, but the site will be nothing without us.

All the negative changes were rescinded - no restrictions on forum posts, messages and profile info for any members (the restrictions were originally placed on those not currently involved in the Members Plus program, which costs extra). 'For now'. My biggest problem, though, wasn't really about all of that. It was the way they sprung the changes on us overnight with practically no warning to anyone. And then they handled it so badly. It was a very sad day for BookCrossing. I for one am more wary now. Not that the PTB may be after our money - of course they need money, a site like that doesn't run on air. But why handle it so clumsily? And why ignore so thoroughly the members' requests for more transparency? If we can't have answers to our questions, then why not at least tell us that?

I'm glad we were heard at least so far as we were. But I'm still wary. I am and hope always to be a BookCrosser ... but BookCrossing management do not have my full trust anymore. :-(

But there are good things happening in my BC world too. Like this. :-) I came up with a bright idea last winter - I mean, if I do say so myself ;-) - and unlike a lot of my bright ideas, this one actually happened. My idea was to collect a lot of queer interest books and then use them for a mass release during the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival here in Oslo. It's held every June, as part of Oslo Pride Week. Some of my local BookCrossing friends took enthusiastic part in the project (special kudos to lunacia ;-), helping me to collect books, and we also got books as donations from 'Crossers round the world. I set up a virtual bookshelf for the project and registered a stack of books. Mostly flea market finds; however did you guess. ;-) We ended up with so many that we decided to not only release during the film festival, but also during the last few days of Pride Week after the festival was over. It all went really well and we're already planning to do the same again next year. :-) A good time was had by all!! :-)

These are our stats for the project so far:
Books registered: 17
Books donated: 80
Books released: 90
Books caught and journalled: 9
New members: 6

60 books were released at the Cinematheque, and of these, 57 were picked up. The remaining three were rereleased elsewhere during those last few days I mentioned. But we added more books so that we didn't just get 90 releases, we got 90 actually released books. :-) And so far 9 journal entries - we fully expect more to come, but we already have some good ones. This book has already been read and released, and this one has been found twice. :-D

Well deserved kudos to everyone involved, I say. And here's hoping we'll do just as well next year. :-)

Join BookCrossing!! It's fun and exciting despite everything I just said!! :-D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is a fascist state?

It is a corporate state.

It is the United States.

Isn't it creepy when reality starts resembling a conspiracy theory?

Everyone should read this great article by Naomi Wolf. Read it and weep.

And everyone should take a good long look in the mirror and ask: what is the natural enemy of fascism? What does the American media and the American ruling classes struggle so mightily to demonise? And if you follow the money, where does it lead?

Another good article here, btw.

Og nå - noe helt annet.

Dagens Zofies verden i Dagbladet.

En ganske god tegneserie, som jeg liker. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Haakon Lie, one hundred and three

Haakon Lie is 103 years old today. :-o Pretty mindboggling. I don't think I can even really understand how old that is. He's more than three times my age. He was born in Kristiania. He was born before king Haakon had arrived in the country. :-o He was campaigning for Labor in 1919. That just completely ... bakes my noodle. ;-) It's amazing. What's even more amazing is that he's still campaigning, kind of - he still hasn't let go of the world of politics. And why should he? He's still got it. At the last election, that whole 'care on a stopwatch' thing that ended up just defining the entire Labor campaign - he came up with that.

Now his latest thing is that we shouldn't buy those American fighter planes, we should buy the Swedish ones instead. The decision has to be made by Christmas. Glad I'm not going to be making it. :-) I'm obviously not qualified to even have an opinion on this issue, but I have one anyway ... I think we should get the Swedish ones. Because I am a big baby. >:-( I want us to buy the Swedish planes, because Benson K Whitney says we should get the American ones, and whatever he thinks, I always think the exact opposite. Because!!

Aaargh, Benson K Whitney!!!!! Go back where you came from, shithead!!! Go back to the States and find the rock you crawled out from under and bury yourself there again. When Americans ask that retarded question of theirs, 'Why do they hate us?' all I need to answer that are three words. Benson K FUCKING Whitney.

Tonight he was on the news again saying that he would 'never debate' such an illustrious personage as Lie, but he's totally wrong. OK ... so he's willing to go on the biggest news show in the country and say that the old guy doesn't know what he's talking about, but he isn't man enough to do it face to face. Wasn't that what he was saying? And isn't that what he's always saying - 'I don't want to say that you're wrong, but you're totally wrong'. OMFG, grow a pair. >:-(

When you are an ambassador to a foreign nation, you are a guest of that nation. Guests should be polite and refrain from redecorating their host's house. Someone should explain that to Whitney. Seems like all he ever does is tell us how to run our country. He is the embodiment of the Bush administration's attitude to the world - he has this insane idea in his head that the US should run everything, and that this is somehow right and good. Like how they think they should get access to all of our information ... but if we wanted any of theirs, I'm sure they'd throw a fit.

Mr Obama, please win this election and recall this guy and send us someone else! Anyone else.

Benson K Whitney thinks that we shouldn't base our decision about the fighter planes on politics ... we should base it on which is the best plane. Whaddya wanna bet that that only applies as long as we pick the American one? On the news tonight he said that this isn't a political issue for his government, and it also isn't about the economic side of it. (Cause obviously, his government doesn't need money right now. >:-) WTF?? If neither of these things are involved, then why the hell do they even care?? Oh, I'm sorry, it's about the 'bonds' between our nations. We should strive for tighter bonds between Norway and the US. Why? So that when they invade us too and steal our oil, after they're done in the Middle East, we won't fight back like those pesky towelheads are doing?

I'm exaggerating for effect. Or am I?

Benson K Whitney, boo hiss!! >:-(

And there was another idiot on the news too. The king's old caretaker at the Royal Shieling ('old' as in 'previous', he wasn't really that old, age-wise) is going to sue the Palace's insurance company, or whatever, because his health has been ruined by - give me a break - the radiation from the ... what's the word in English ... cell phone tower? in the woods near the Shieling. I don't know how close it is. Which DOESN'T MATTER ANYWAY since you cannot have your health 'ruined', or even affected, by that type of radiation. I mean, pics or it didn't happen. This didn't happen. It's unprovable ... and, hello, Occam's razor. So good luck with that lawsuit to the former royal janitor. What really annoyed me, though - yeah, I was not sufficiently annoyed yet by this time - was the way the reporter phrased the story. First: Here we see a man whose health has been shattered by radiation ... and then: Telenor claims that the radiation levels are not sufficiently high in that area to affect ... WTF?? No! He claims! They are the ones with the evidence on their side!!

Gunnar, if you read this: you should totally write something about that. Something serious, though, not something like this. >:-)

Sheesh. I shouldn't watch the news.

Happy 103rd, Mr Lie. I hope you'll stick around a little bit longer. Cause you gotta see how it ends, right? ;-)

The operamusical 'Which Witch' ...

... is one of my all-time favorite musical ... thingummies. I'm a crazy fan. I once travelled for something like 30 hours straight - one way - to see a school production of it in some random town in Germany. It wasn't that good, but it was Which Witch. :-) This was me and Anéa who did that ... she's even crazier than me on this score. It feels good to have someone else around who's even worse. >:-)

WW was conceived as a concept album kind of thing, and developed over a number of years into a concert show and a concert musical ... with the amazing pinnacle of a West End opera musical in between. And that is fabulous. ;-) WW is the creation of two very creative and talented women, Benedicte Adrian and Ingrid Bjørnov, as well as their former longtime manager, Ole A Sørli. They worked on it for many years, had ups and downs with it - some really serious downturns, but let's not go there - but no one can deny that they achieved one of the absolutely highest points of their careers when they brought the show to London 16 years ago. The production sadly did not last long :-( ... why on earth not is a whole other story, I'm not going to get into that, except to say that I do not accept that it was any failing on the part of the musical itself. Some, no doubt, will disagree with me. >:-) What cannot be argued is that it was a huge achievement for two young Norwegian women to get a musical that they themselves created produced on a London stage. It's never happened before or since. It may never happen again. Anyone who feels like bitching about Dollie de Luxe can put a sock in it until they've managed the same feat of musical artistry themselves. >:-)

What's so great about WW? ZOMG, what isn't??! :-D The music, the characters, the story, the scenes, the lions and tigers and bears, oh my!! I'm not sure I can explain it well enough to make someone entirely unfamiliar with the show understand - and I may be wrong; you, unknown reader, might hate the show if you heard it or saw it. But it will always have a huge place in my heart. I find the story deeply touching and the music spectacular and moving. I dig it. :-)

The plot is pretty simple. The story takes place in the summer of 1537. Our heroine is Maria Vittoria di'Farnese, a young woman, or we might say girl, from Rome. She's from a good family; she is the adopted daughter of a rich and powerful man. Her foster father, Pier Luigi, is the son of Pope Paul III ... so this family can look down their noses at pretty much everybody (although Pier Luigi is very sensitive on the issue of his bastardy). She's 17 years old, blonde, blue-eyed and pretty, innocent and naïve. As she's starting to get on in years >:-) her father has decided that it's time for her to marry - and what a husband he's found for her. Anton Fugger, a super rich and powerful man - a banking magnate from the south German town of Heidelberg. He is unfortunately also about 30 years older than her and kind of fat ... but he's super rich. Maria, young and silly chit of a girl that she is, isn't too keen on marrying this guy, since she last summer fell madly in love with a certain inappropriate someone - a handsome youngish priest by the name of Daniel Konrad von Fuchs. To make matters worse: also from Heidelberg.

In the intervening year, the bishop thereabouts has died or something and Daniel has been promoted to the vacant diocese. He's travelled to Rome for his investiture. Unfortunately, on his trip he meets Maria again. She's even more in love with him now than ever (that's what comes of sitting around embroidering all winter). He brushes off her romantic overtures and denies any possibility of any feelings between them going anywhere. But hey, that doesn't mean he denies that they're there. >:-) Love conquers all and an ill-advised elopement ensues. Where to go but back home to good ol' Heidelberg ... where the disturbingly Catholic populace isn't too thrilled to see their bishop shacking up with a pretty young blonde; where Anton Fugger's tenderly nursing his jealousy and wounded pride; and, not least, where Daniel's dangerously ambitious sister, countess Anna Regina von Fuchs, is appalled to see her brother throwing away the career she's been working so hard to build for him.

It's all Maria's fault. She's got to go. But how? How to make friends while killing people? >:-)

Anyway! So far the London version & other, simpler ones. The former is completely fantastic, had great singers, wonderful costumes, and the music, oh, the music. Swoon! Here's one of my favorite songs from the London show. It's called Malleus Maleficarum, it's the opening song (after the overture, obviously) and the character performing it is Maria's father confessor, cardinal Gonzaga, head of the Roman Inquisition. He doesn't like women much. We are bad. >:-) He was played by Billy Hartman in the London production.

Why blog about this now? Because WW has been brought back to life this fall. :-o Sure, there have been various small productions around the country - concert performances, that type of thing. But since Benedicte & Ingrid themselves let go of it, there's never been a real production of it anywhere. Never a serious & major theatrical production ... until this August. :-o

On the 27th of last month, Det Norske Teatret here in Oslo opened with their Norwegian-language production of Which Witch - new and different, or so they say. Anéa has seen it twice, and she agrees - it's different. But she doesn't think it's very good. :-( I live in dread of seeing WW presented depressingly badly. And on Wednesday I will find out whether that very thing is going on at a major theater in this very city. I am atwitter with excitement. The reviews have been varied, though some surprisingly good. (They're all in Norwegian: here, here and here.) I can't wait to find out for myself.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy birthday, findabair!!

Today is my friend findabair's birthday. :-) Congratulations!!!

I hope you'll have a wonderful day ... with lots of greetings from family and friends, nice presents (though not too many of them as I suspect you don't have room for a whole lot more stuff right now ;-) and some fun activity that doesn't involve movie versions of books that you hate. ;-)

All my wishes for a wonderful birthday!!! Have a great time and I'll see you on Wednesday. :-)

Here's a pretty picture for you! :-)

(Unfortunately, this beautiful pendant isn't your present - I only wish I had that kind of money ;-) - but I do have something up my sleeve. Something you really don't need, but still. Make sure you have extra room in your bag on Wednesday. ;-)

Quote of the Week

The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance … logic can be happily tossed out the window.
Stephen King

I picked this because it's King's birthday today.
Happy 61st!! :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mountain vacation 2008. August 15th: Røros Museum

The last thing we managed to fit in on our sightseeing round (we also found time for dinner, but I didn't take any pictures of that ;-) was the Røros Museum. It is of course about the thing that the town's most famous for - the copper mine & works. This is to be seen in the old smelting house (left building) ...

... which is to be found right next to the old slag heaps, that you see in the background there. Sheesh. Doesn't sound very charming, I know. But it's pretty there too - look, bluebells!! :-D

Across the road from the museum is the place to go for Røros' most famous view. I took a picture of it, but I've seen better ones. Sadly, very many better ones. Sob. But at least this proves, though rather inconclusively, that I Was There. >:-) This is the old bell that used to be the heartbeat of the town - it was rung every time something vaguely significant happened in the mine or the works. As in, shift coming on, shift coming off, feeding time ...

What a life it must have been ...

The bell seen against the sky like this, with the famous church in the background, can be found on an infinity of postcards and the like in local area gift shops. Unsurprisingly. But it really is a very striking image. Especially when seen from a better angle than the one shown here. :-(

We went into the museum to see what we would see. Turned out that only part of the museum is used for their permanent exhibition ... they also have a couple of rooms on the middle level of the building which is used for temporary exhibitions, mostly art. Just then they had a couple of local artists - one doing some 'modern art' shit that I didn't like, and the other working in wool and leather and whatnot to create actual useful items. This I like much more. The main room though contained something my mother was really psyched to see - a collection of new(ish?) paintings by the crazy Austrian-Norwegian painter Willibald Storn. He be one mad mad man!! :-D He really has something seriously weird going on in his head. But I kind of like his work ... his use of color is so extravagant, I like that. His work is certainly, ahem, eye-catching. My mother thought it would have been really cool to have bought one of the paintings on display, but unfortunately we didn't have 12 000 crowns to spend on art just then. Not to mention that my father would have gone ballistic if she'd come home with one of those things. >:-)

Fancy something like this on your wall?? :-)

The lower floor of the building contains the permanent exhibition. Here you can learn about the history of the copper works, the growth of the mine system in the area (which is gigantic), what's so great about copper, and some political history to explain the ups and downs of the works' fortunes. They have a lot of old tools and that type of thing on display. But the really cool thing is that they have reconstructed a copper mine & works there in miniature - with running water, 'fire' and everything ... little workers, some of them moving around ... and horses too! ... so you can walk through this giant room and follow all this underground activity that brought the copper from the ground and to the open air as finished bars. It was a really long process and it was fascinating to see it all.

I took a few pictures although by this time my camera was just about dying on me. It has a shitty battery. I want a new camera.