Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books I've read in 2009 - December

Nattefokk by Johan Theorin – AUDIO
Och fjättra Lilith i kedjor by Åsa Schwarz
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – AUDIO
Kennedys hjerne by Henning Mankell – AUDIO
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Singing Line by Alice Thomson
Box 21 by Roslund & Hellström
Minnet av en mördare by Willy Josefsson
'She Must Have Known' by Brian Masters
House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata
Dollar by Lee Childs – AUDIO
Kuren by Mo Hayder – AUDIO
Pappersväggar by John Aijvide Lindqvist
Isbjörnarna/Cheek to Cheek/Människor i solen by Jonas Gardell
no tears for queers by Johan Hilton
Øye for øye by Stein Morten Lier - AUDIO
The Va Dinci Cod by ARRR Roberts

12 printed books, 3,589 pages.
6 audiobooks, 73h 32m.

Favorite fiction:
Pappersväggar. I love this author and in this short story collection there are some amazing stories. Everyone should read all his books :-) and this one is no exception.

Favorite nonfiction:
no tears for queers - a wonderful read that really opened my eyes. I'll be doing a video on this book I think, it really made me think a lot of new thoughts.

Favorite audio:
Probably ... Nattefokk. My second book by this author, and I loved this one too. It's available in English under the title The Darkest Room. I recommend it strongly.

Books with no links will be reviewed ... at some point ... :-)

And lest I forget: Happy new year to all my blog readers!! :-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IRELAND 1996: Eimear Quinn - The Voice

This one's for you, Paz. ;-)

Others may argue, but IMO this is the best Irish ESC entry ever. And it's one of my personal favorite entries too. I just love this song. :-) There's just nothing wrong with it. :-) Quinn's voice is so beautiful and so expressive, the melody is gorgeous and beautifully played, and the lyrics are original and evocative. It's just such a beautiful song. Listen to this, people, and then you won't need to ask why Europe hated Dustin the Turkey ... he was offensive because we know from experience that Ireland can do so much better.

This song won in Norway and partly thanks to Norway ... it was our entry Nocturne from the previous year that paved the way for this song. (I'll be posting that one next year. :-) I remember watching this on TV and loving the song from the first moment I heard it ... and I was certain, from the moment Quinn began to sing, that Ireland would be winning yet again. :-) To the chagrin of RTÉ, probably, but a very well-deserved victory. :-)

This is Eimear Quinn performing The Voice by Brendan J Graham. He competed for Ireland in Oslo Spektrum on May 18th, 1996 and won by an at the time very convincing 48 points.

Lyrics here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, you don't say ...

From Aftenposten on Sunday, December 27th. My translation.

- The Pope is vulnerable
The Vatican admits that pope Benedict XVI is vulnerable to attacks. It is impossible to protect the pope against assaults of the type that took place during the mass on Christmas Eve, says a spokesman.

Huh. Isn't that odd. I can think of at least one ... entity ... that ought to be able to protect Herr Ratzinger from pretty much everything.


Monday, December 28, 2009

A Keanu Christmas

I bet you are all soo thrilled to get the chance to watch this one ... ;-)

Don't complain; at least you don't have to listen to the man sing himself. >:-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quote of the Week

Most people can't bear to sit in church for an hour on Sundays. How are they supposed to live somewhere very similar to it for eternity?
Mark Twain

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some thoughts on trees

Christmas trees, to be exact. I'm not a fan. I can't remember what I used to think of them as a child. It's probably safe to assume that I didn't think much about the issue at all. But in recent years I've noticed myself developing something of an aversion to the things.

I don't have a Christmas tree at home. In fact, to be honest, I don't have any Christmas decorations at all. I own some, but I don't use them. I don't know why I've even bought them - total waste of money so far. If you saw my apartment you'd have no idea it even was Christmas right now. Partly that's for practical reasons ... I'm lazy and I'm never at home then anyway, so what's the point? In some ways it just makes it more special to arrive at my grandmother's house in the past, and at my parents' house now - I go from no decorations to fully decorated, so then I can really tell that Christmas has arrived. :-) But partly, or perhaps I might as well say mainly, it's because I'm not really into this holiday at all.

I do like some things about it. Time off is always nice ;-) and especially time off during which one has a total license to just relax and enjoy oneself. I like giving presents and getting presents ... although sometimes the whole present thing feels like it's almost more stress than it's worth. (Please note, friends & family reading this: I said 'almost'. ;-) I like - theoretically - the idea that at Christmas we should all be nice to each other. But.

I don't like what Christmas has become in the Western world. Far from a religious or spiritual celebration, I should sooner call it a gluttony of consumption. To be brutally honest, when I think about it too much, when I really try to take it all in, it makes me sick. Those of you who read Norwegian, please read this post over at my friend Gunnar's blog, unfiltered perception ... he has some excellent and important points to make on this same topic. When I hear statistics like the recent one showing that each Norwegian child will receive on average ten kilos of presents this year - and a lot of it will of course be Chinese plastic crap that's killing the planet - it makes my stomach turn. I just want to punch somebody in the face. But what can I do? It really is like Fay Weldon said. :-(

Anyway, back to the trees. This wasn't supposed to be a very long post. (Gee, quel surprise. ;-) Christmas trees are one of the things I have to say I reject about Christmas. I don't have one in my house and I never will. I just can't wrap my head around the concept. Here is a tree, one of nature's amazing creatures - because really, think of a tree, really think about them! they are fantastic beings! - living creatures who share this planet with us. And we kill them, just to drag them into our houses and drape a lot of weird shit on them - often more plastic crap - and let them slowly die for a couple of weeks. Then they're trash and we send them to the dump. That's if they're what, lucky ... a lot of them don't even get bought by anyone and just become trash right away. >:-( When I look at a Christmas tree, they just strike me as so wrong on every possible level. I know in my gut that I'm looking at something that is just totally out of place. It just doesn't in any way sense or form belong in that living room or whatever where it's standing. It's a tree!! It belongs in the forest! But no, we had to kill it for our temporary enjoyment. >:-(

And then when I talk to people like my mother, who insisted on having a Christmas tree even on those Christmases when we went to my grandmother's house and, obviously, weren't even home on Christmas eve ... then it's like I'm meeting a member of an alien species. Seriously. I don't understand how that thought process could even take place.

Instead of buying a Christmas tree next year, please consider donating the money you would have spent towards the planting of trees instead. Our planet will thank you. :-)

(Well, no, it obviously won't, but you know what I mean.)

Just to make this post really schizo, here's a picture of our Christmas tree, that I decorated. I know, I know ...

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas 2009

Does anyone remember the green Christmas we had here last year? Well, this year, forget about it!! Green Christmas, never heard of it. This year's holiday season is as white as it gets. Snow everywhere and it's even snowing more right now and has been for hours. It's so pretty ... !!

Just to really rub it in, I made a video. My old neighborhood looking all Christmas card-y. This was even made on Christmas Eve. :-)

Hope you're all having a wonderful restful relaxing holiday so far. :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A poem for Christmas

Christmas Trees
(A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Robert Frost

Takk til Elin! :-)

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yay, and *cough*

The computer's back home. Whee. :-) Perfect timing ... I had a couple of Christmas presents that I wanted to make, and I needed my computer for both, but now I have been able to get both done. So yay. :-)

But not all yay, because in the interim I've managed to get sick. Really uncomfortably sick ... with all kinds of flu symptoms, which is so ironic, because, get this, I was supposed to get my swine flu shot on Friday. It had been set up through work and I was fully expecting to get it done, but because of one thing and another it all fell through and I didn't get it. So then of course I get sick on Sunday. :-D Not at all saying that it's the swine flu - absolutely not - hoping it's just a bad cold or some regular flu thing ... but I do have all the symptoms they've been saying to look out for, and it's definitely not a 24-hour bug, because it's been more like 60 hours now and I'm not really feeling much better than I did when it started. :-(

So ... what a lovely Christmas I shall no doubt have. Seriously, I will. It's my mother who will suffer. My father's sick too, he has an ear infection and has been running a bit of a fever. So my mother will have a great time with the two of us, I'm sure. ;-) Happy holidays and so on ... :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quote of the Week

You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do.
Anne Lamott

And, of course, happy birthday to Paz!!! Wheee!!! :-D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Warsaw 2009: Moving pictures

Some videos from my trip to Warsaw. Not really very interesting, I suppose ... just street scenes filmed through the windows of various streetcars. But there you go. Writing this on Friday at work after work :-) and don't have time to be very inventive. No news on the computer as of yet, alas. :-(

Great public transport in Warsaw. :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A thought on Hopenhagen

So, everybody's been more or less following the climate conference in Copenhagen. Hard to avoid. The big question is, supposedly, will something real & worthwhile come out of it all, or not? Umm ...

My thoughts on this subject ought to be pretty clear. I recently shared with you all my message to the world, here. Now, that was for a project by a blogger here in Norway. He collected lots of these photos and then made a video with some or most of them. You can see the video here if you want. My photo wasn't included in the video, of course, since my message wasn't a touchy-feely-let's-all-get-along-and-be-happy kind of thing like most of the others. Smile to the world and the world smiles back, etc. How I wish I could be able to laugh when it turns out that I will be right in the end and they are all enabling saps. But I'm pretty sure it will be too sad to laugh about.

I don't think the Copenhagen conference will result in anything that will make any real difference, and everything's going to go to hell in a handbasket. That's what I think. There will be little or no improvement on the things that need to change. It'll be a lot of talk (and a lot more pollution, because of course all the delegates have to fly their own private jets or whatever, they can't mingle with the plebs) and nothing concrete will actually be done.

The reason for this is very simple. I personally think that there are things we could conceivably do - probably much less than is needed, because we've painted ourselves into such a fucking corner, but still - but those things aren't going to get done before it's too late. Because there's no money in it. I think that that is the sad truth. Preserving our biosphere, not destroying other fascinating species that share that biosphere with us, making sure there will be sufficient resources available for our ancestors in centuries to come, keeping human civilization on its goddamn feet ... there's no money in it. Maybe there might be in the long run. But that is one of the fundamental flaws of Homo sapiens sapiens, that we don't feel threatened by a danger that isn't presently apparent to us. So we don't take these apparently vague future dangers into account ... and that means that there's no money in changing the status quo, and we love money so much that we'll cling on to the status quo even when it kills us.

It's like I said. We're doomed. But will anyone listen? Sheesh, humans.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sad story gives me flashback

Read this sad story over at the Scandinavian BookCrossing forum. Aww!! Stuff like that breaks my heart. I hope she finds her teddy bear. :-(

But then, after reading it and thinking some sympathetic thoughts, I had a nasty flashback. Anyone remember this:

WTF was the deal with that kid?? ADD or just total evilness?? Why did he send poor Joppe through the mail if he was so afraid of losing him?? Stupid loser idiot brat!! >:-(

DÖDA JOPPE, RÄDD ELLER LEVANDE ... !! No, I don't mean that, I used to really like Joppe when I used to watch this actually pretty weird show. But I always felt sorry for him having to live with that awful kid who treated him so badly ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ooh, hungry fake turtles

Feed the turtles, they are cute and hungry ...

Get your own virtual critters here.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Boo-hoo, sad news for Leisha. My computer was attacked by some virus last night and is now wild'n'crazy. I can get online, barely, but strange things happen. Most other programs don't work, just the browser ... and I can't install anything new or uninstall the crap that's making the poor thing go crazy. I'm going to some place downtown that trilltrall told me about and let one of the computer doctors make it all better. I called them this morning, they said come by this afternoon and they'll be able to take a look at it in a day or two. I hope so. I'm handicapped without my trusty laptop. :-( But there it is, these things happen. I guess maybe I'm lucky that it hasn't happened before. Still, sad and so on.

Anyway ... I'm at work now writing this, and as you can imagine, updates and replies to comments and so on will be on a minimum for a while till I get this fixed. Hopefully won't take too long, but who knows. Waah ... !

Yeah, you can laugh, mister ... >:-(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quote of the Week

Society's never going to make any progress before we all learn to pretend to like each other.
Turanga Leela

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Got mail?

Quite possibly the answer is no, not much. I mean, bills and random ads, sure. But that's not real mail. Real mail is a letter or a card or a package that puts a smile on your face ... and although many of us, thanks to the internet, are now in regular contact with far more people around the world than we were, say, ten years ago, we still get real physical mail much more rarely than we did back then. I know that's true for me. And as much as I love teh intarwebs with all the multitudinous opportunities for experiences that follow, I also like mail. I love mail. :-) It's like I said, it puts a smile on my face. :-)

So, these things considered, I don't understand why I haven't gotten involved with the topic of today's post sooner. I'd heard about it several times, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to really looking into it until the beginning of October this year. It's been going on for over four years, though. And it really works. I can so vouch for that now. :-)

What is Postcrossing?

It's a website set up to let people send and receive postcards to and from randomly selected strangers. :-)

The site was set up by Paulo Magalhães in the summer of 2005, based on his opinion, or one might say feeling, that it's nice to get mail. :-) It's grown very quickly and there are now more than 130,000 users, and more than 3 million cards have been sent.

The system is very simple. First of all you must register as a user - this is quick and easy and completely free of charge. (The site is free to use, although you must of course buy your own postcards and pay for postage. You can make donations to the site if you want, but there is no requirement whatsoever to do so.) You get a profile - mine is here - where you can share some info about yourself and what kind of cards you would like to be sent. You then request an address to send a card to. This will be selected randomly - the list of recipient addresses changes constantly. The address may be anywhere in the world. You also get a unique ID code - eg, NO-26893 - which you must write clearly on the card. You then write a few words - whatever you want to write - on the postcard and send it off.

When it is received by the recipient, that person will use the ID code to register the card as received. Your address will then be added to the list of people due to receive a postcard, and someone else will be sent your address when they ask to send a card. This person, again, may be anywhere in the world, and they will not be the same person that you sent your card to.

At any given time you can have up to five cards travelling; as soon as one of these is registered as received, you will be allowed to send another. This number increases in increments with the number of cards you send. You will receive the same number of cards as you send out, from various countries all over the world. You send a card, it's received, you get a card ... And around and around we go ... :-)

But seriously, it really works. So far I've had 26 cards registered as received, and I've gotten 24 cards. The latter number will obviously usually be a little bit behind the former. I've got six cards on the road right now, travelling to Russia, Scotland, Canada, the US, China and Germany. The two cards I'm due to receive may come from almost literally anywhere on the planet. So far I've gotten cards from Finland, Iceland, Japan, Brazil, Tahiti, China and Germany ... among others. :-) I love it. :-) You never know what will arrive, or when. :-)

Apart from the official Postcrossing cards, there's also a lot of swapping going on. You can check a box on your profile to let other members know whether or not you're interested in that. A great way to get even more mail. :-D

The point of this post is to encourage all of you reading this to join Postcrossing and share in the fun. What's stopping you?? :-) You don't have to send five cards at once, you don't have to swap, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. But if your constantly empty mailbox is boring you to tears, I'm here to tell you that there is a solution. :-)

Two of my friends - KAS and C. - have already joined, and I've signed my mother up too. If you decide to join, dear reader, I'd love to hear about your experiences. It's a great hobby, and - I'll say it again - it really works. :-)

As usual, I've gotten a bit carried away with this whole thing, so I've set up a Postcrossing blog to chronicle my PX adventures. It's here if you want to take a look at cards I've sent and received, and other Postcrossing-related info.

Got mail? No? Then become a Postcrosser - you and your mailbox will never look back! :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book reviews on video

I've been meaning to mention this for a while, but, as we know, I am slow. Remember when I had all that free time this summer and fall? I started doing something new - well, several new things actually :-) - more or less on a whim to see if it'd work. Turned out it worked pretty well. :-)

As the heading says, I'm making book reviews on video. You may have noticed them already on my Youtube channel. I've been getting really good feedback on them, it's interesting. And it's fun making them, because, no surprises here, I really like talking about books. :-)

Here's a sample - Circle's End by Tom Egeland, which was a disappointing read, but I think the review turned out pretty entertaining. If anyone reading this has read the book, I'd love to hear your opinion on it. Spill. -)

The review is in English, even though I read the book in Norwegian. Just because, obviously, more people can understand the review if it's in English. :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize, bah humbug

So, Barack Obama's in town right now, picking up his sadly undeserved Peace Prize. One hundred million crowns down the drain, if you ask me. It makes me sad to see all this tremendous security that apparently the Americans think is necessary for their president. I mean, it probably is. But that's what's so sad. Our king can walk from the Palace to go to the movies with a regular audience if he wants, and there's no barriers erected and no manhole covers needing to be welded shut ... just a couple of cops out of uniform and, from what I hear, usually the queen. :-) I like Norway. :-)

Anyway. To mark the occasion, such as it is, I'd like to share a couple of videos I've made from a recent video to the Nobel Peace Center here in Oslo. The first shows one of the permanent exhibits, the Nobel Field. It's both interesting and beautiful, so take a look. :-) The second shows the temporary exhibition From King to Obama, which is dedicated to the great Martin Luther King Jr and to Barack Obama. The exhibiton shows a lot of information about both men's careers and background, and about the times in which they lived and live. (Please don't get shot here, Mr President. ;-) It was quite interesting, I'm glad I saw it. I especially liked all the black and white photos from Dr King's career and significant events around the US in his lifetime.

I was actually downtown when he greeted the crowds from the balcony at Grand Hotel (encased in bulletproof glass, of course o_O) but there were so many people there that I didn't see a thing. :-D I normally wouldn't have been there - I'd have had a much better view watching TV at home ;-) - but I had to be there anyway ... Anne Ida and I had tickets to Rune Andersen's show at Latter, so we had to be around. :-) The show was great, see it if you get the chance. Andersen is such a funny guy ... his Lars Monsen impression was priceless. And Espen Beranek Holm doing Erling Lægreid was just too funny, I mean, wow. Spot on. :-D My face still hurts from laughing so hard. :-)

In closing, a quote that seems appropriate today.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
Ernest Hemingway

I hope that Obama will keep that in mind. :-(

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warsaw 2009: reptiles at the Zoo

I mentioned that when I went to Warsaw Zoo back in March, the one thing I really went there for was to see the reptile house. It's called Gady. Don't know what that means. (Any Poles reading this, feel free to help me out. :-) Just before we were going to leave I got the brilliant idea of making a video of the place. You may have seen it already, it's the featured video on my Youtube channel ... but if not, then here it is. Enjoy. :-)

For the record, I have to say that this is one of the better reptile houses that I've visited. The enclosures could have been bigger, sure, but they were perfectly fine as they were. Nice setups ... some really good. The animals seemed to be doing very well. I got a really good impression of the place. :-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creativity WIN

The other day when I was at the library, I was lucky enough to see this. Take a look.

It's on the entrance door ... the one to the furthest right.

OK, hard to see, I know. There's a better shot below. I just loved seeing this. And I really was lucky to see it - it was grafitti after all, and the next time I was there, the following week, it was gone, predictably. I mean, I agree with them, it ought to be removed. But if you're going to do something like this, then wow, way to go!! This is creativity in action, really. Brilliant. :-)

It says, in a translation that isn't word for word accurate, but is in fact more correct for it:

Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss.

Again, this was on the door to Oslo's main library. Gotta love it. :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Keanu Monday

What is wrong with me ... !! I realized Tuesday morning that I'd totally forgotten about Keanu Monday. zomg!!1 Must be corrected ... !! So I wrote this post on Tuesday, December 8th, and changed the date to Monday, and then changed the date on Monday's post so that it looks like I wrote it today. I know, I need some kind of help ... o_O

Here's Keanu getting a Bambi award. I like the look on his face. :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quote of the Week?

Not really a quote, but still, on topic. And of course hilarious. :-)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Best Condell ever?

Feels like I've been posting a lot of videos lately. I hadn't really planned to post one today too, but then I went on Youtube and watched Pat Condell's latest effort. Wow. I'm leaning towards this being his best video ever. Far too good not to share.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A favorite song ...

... from a favorite movie.

Aldrig skall jag sluta älska dig ('I will never stop loving you') - music by Jesper Winge Leisner and lyrics by the one & only Jonas Gardell, written for the movie Livet är en schlager (Once in a Lifetime) by Susanne Bier, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I never get tired of that movie, it's absolutely wonderful in so many ways. One of which is that it stars the lovely & talented Helena Bergström, who is perhaps my favorite actress.

This song has been performed & recorded by several singers - among them Gardell himself - but the best version is of course the original, performed by Bergström as the main character Mona in the movie.

Enjoy. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Katzenjammer live in Oslo

... in almost just one week. :-) The girls will be playing at Sentrum Scene on Saturday, December 12th ... returning in triumph to Oslo after an apparently very successful mini tour of Europe. So, they're moving up in the world ... Sentrum is a bigger venue than Rockefeller, so kudos for that. I've got my ticket and so have at least half a dozen of my friends. :-) Anyone else who feels like going, what are you waiting for?? It's guaranteed to be a fun show. :-) You can get your tickets here.

And here are the girls performing my favorite of their songs, Hey, Ho, On the Devil's Back.

At least it's my favorite so far. :-) They're working on their second album, from which we will presumably be hearing a number of songs on Saturday. Should be interesting. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Racism can be funny

Or at least it can have entertaining results.

A couple of weeks ago we had a bit of a scandal in this country ... one of our rising young stars in the sport of skating made a complaint against her coach ... some sexual harassment thing, I'm sketchy on the details, but apparently there was some talk at a dinner party that got out of hand, and this guy, the coach, doesn't really get that there are some things you can do and say between people who are colleagues that you can't get into if you're their superior. Bad sentence, but you know what I mean. :-)

Anyway. He'd gotten a bunch of warnings for various other issues in the past, and this time it just got to be too much, and he was fired. This created a lot of debate. I don't really follow sports ... or, one might say I don't follow sports in any way whatsoever ... but this was impossible to miss, it was all over the media constantly. A lot of debate. Was it right to fire him, was it wrong? Personally I don't see the problem. As a coach he must have been hired to motivate the skaters to do their best and win competitions, obviously. Well, if telling people that they're fat and a disgrace to the Norwegian flag, and asking them in public whether the rumors are true that they give good head, turn out to not be working as motivation (and this would seem to be the case as we haven't really been producing a lot of world class skaters during this guy's tenure as coach) then he's not doing his job, so why not fire him? Anyway.

One guy who got involved in the debate is a person whose name I don't even know ... he's a sports anchor at our biggest commercial TV station (or possibly at their much smaller subsidiary, but that's beside the point) and he posted some speculation on his blog about this case. He was supposedly sort of thinking out loud and wondering if maybe this young skater's situation was being used by the Skating Association to forcibly eject the coach from his position. Reading this made one of our MPs see red, and she said to the media that this anchor guy should be given a dressing down by the powers that be at his channel, because this was just too much.

I'm not going to say whether she was right or wrong to do this ... or, well, I'll say that I don't quite get why she cares. :-) But this post - it does have a point! - isn't about what she said but about an absolutely stellar reaction that her statements provoked. It's brilliant, it's a masterpiece of meta-irony. :-) Wait for it.

So, the MP in question is Hadia Tajik. Just for the record, I do not like this woman. I voted for her party, Labor, in the parliamentary election in September, but I crossed her name off the list. Not because she's Norwegian-Pakistani - except of course that what I hold against her most likely was a result of just that - I resent her for her actions in the hijab debate earlier this year. I disagree with her completely on that issue and I will not vote for her. But that is neither here nor there. Here's the thing. Dagbladet had an article about this and they opened it up for debate. And the most popular comment in that debate is what is so incredibly ironic. I mean, it's almost beyond ironic. And the reason why the heading on this post says that racism can be funny is that I'm pretty damn sure that if Tajik had been a white person - most especially a white man; sexism can be funny too!! - whoever wrote that comment would not have done so. Think I'm wrong? Maybe. But I am pretty damn sure. A colored woman will have to take some shit that a white man won't even have to worry about. :-(

But, OK, the point. This statement is just the best. I love it. I want it on a T-shirt.

We have freedom of speech in this country, so shut up.

And just to end on a completely different note, happy birthday to my father who is 67 years old today. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anton in living color

Remember Anne Ida's little turtle Anton who came to live with her two weeks ago? He's doing fine - somewhat skeptical of his new owner still, but settling in well. And of course totally adorable. :-) Like most freshwater turtles he is strong and agile and quick on his feet, and an excellent climber. Apart from the entirely aquatic ones - the softshells - these animals are both good at and fond of climbing. It's their instinct to seek out the highest spot, to get the best view of their surroundings ... and they're curious too, and want to see what's going on. :-)

Here's Anton climbing up the back of Anne Ida's living room couch. Bet you didn't think a turtle could do that. ;-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Books I've read in 2009 - November

Visjonens bok by Muniam Alfaker
Gomorra by Roberto Saviano – AUDIO
Det tredje tegnet by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
Midtvinterblod by Mons Kallentoft
Skumringstimen by Johan Theorin – AUDIO
Svenska skurkar by Stig Linnell
Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter
Sirkelens ende by Tom Egeland – AUDIO
Leoparden by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Night by Elie Wiesel – AUDIO
The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi
Daughters of the House by Michele Roberts
Fjellet by Arnaldur Indridason – AUDIO
Afrikanen by Jean Marie Gustave le Clezio – AUDIO
Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris
Stolthet og fordom by Jane Austen – AUDIO
The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps by Michel Faber
Live Flesh by Ruth Rendell
Helt konge by Øystein Sørensen

12 printed books, 3,128 pages.
7 audiobooks, 66h 38m.

Favorite fiction:
Det tredje tegnet. I'll be doing a video review of this book shortly. It's a great read - an entertaining Icelandic thriller with great characters, a fascinating plot, and also surprisingly well translated in the Norwegian edition that I read. I'm really looking forward to reading more books by this author, who was entirely new to me when I picked up the book at a BookCrossing meetup. Thanks to Tine1971 for recommending it so warmly. :-)

Favorite nonfiction:
I have to say ... The Great Derangement. Perhaps slightly outdated in some sections, but more than makes up for that by being very well written, entertaining, insightful and intelligent.

Favorite audio:
Oh, how to choose?? This has been a great month for audiobooks. :-) If I have to pick one, I think I have to say Skumringstimen. I really enjoyed that book tremendously. I'm already reading the author's second novel. :-)

Books with no links will be reviewed on my book blog before too long. :-)

So much for reading. I can't let Keanu Monday pass without mention. ;-) Check out this blog entry, here. It's somewhat interesting ... partly because of the Keanu content, although I realize this may not appeal to all my readers ;-) and partly because of the statements the writer makes about her supposed intuition or whatever woo-type abilities it is that we're supposed to perceive in this account.

I can read everyone and pick up on so much information going on within them.
My intuition on him garnered prior to being in his presence says he knows much more about alternate realities.

The curse of magical thinking ...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

I don't think that [magic] is much different from believing in a Christian god. I mean, if magic is unreasonable, then so is faith in a Christian god, because you can't see either.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Remember that I mentioned that this writer who I'm quoting here was going to be in Oslo and be interviewed? Well, she was and she did and I was there. :-) And I taped almost the whole thing. :-D So take a look at this - you won't be sorry, she was so entertaining and wonderful to listen to. This is the first of four parts; the other three are on my book blog, here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gol stave church

How many times this year have I seen this church now? Five times in the past six months? Oy vey, tourists ... !! :-D

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lisbeth Salander FTW!!

Tonight's the night ... ! The third and last Millennium movie, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, opens in theaters here tonight. Ooh ... !! But I'm not going! Bwaah! There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for that - James' two Japanese friends K&K, who have been mentioned in the comments here, are in Oslo even as I write these words, and I am not only nice enough to let them stay at my place and make them my delicious fish soup and show them around Oslo tomorrow (gasp) I am also nice enough to not force them to pay money to see a movie in a language they don't understand a word of. The milk of human kindness, it runneth over ...

They're leaving on the 7:20 bus tomorrow night, and Anne Ida and I have tickets to see the movie at Colosseum at 8:45. ;-) I'm expecting the movie to be ... not all that, the least good of the three, but a total must-see anyway. And who cares in any case - any & all movie is entertaining on the big screen at Colosseum. :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fun for the natives

Today's post will only be amusing to Norwegian speakers, I'm afraid.

This is a sign I saw on the subway on, let's see ... November 7th. I thought it was so funny, I had to take a picture of it. Fellow Osloites, have you seen this before?? I never saw it till that Saturday night. It's so cool, I love it when they do things like this.

It's a sign put up by the city transport company on board a subway train on which they're doing something with the expression 'mind the gap' ... but it doesn't really translate. All the funny disappears in translation. :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MALTA 2005: Chiara - Angel

Time for another ESC favorite. This is the best Maltese entry ever, IMO, a beautiful song by a wonderful singer. I've listened to this song a lot over the past four years. :-) I love Chiara's voice, it's so expressive. And this song just has it all, really. Malta's strongest entry ever. They were one of the top favorites that year. Unfortunately they only got to 2nd place ... the genuinely talented Chiara was beaten on the finish on the finish line by that Greek slut, pardon my French. Alas.

Chiara composed this song herself, and she wrote the lyrics too, so she really competed in every possible way. :-) She competed for Malta on Thursday, May 19th, and Saturday, May 21st, 2005 in the Palace of Sports in Kyiv.

Lyrics here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quote of the Week

Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever til the end of time!
But He loves you.
He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.
George Carlin

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Warsaw 2009: the Zoo

One thing I really wanted to do in Warsaw was to visit the zoo. It has an interesting history ... it's quite old, it was established in 1928, and it has an impressive collection, about 5,000 specimens of altogether almost 500 species. During the second world war, the then director of the zoo concealed more than two hundred Jews, mostly children, on the premises and saved their lives. What a story. There's a book about that which I really want to read ... I'm keeping an eye out for that.

Getting to the zoo is easy from downtown, just jump on a streetcar - I don't remember which line, but the stop is called Warsaw Zoo :-) - and it takes about 20 minutes to get there.

Anyway ... we were there on a cold and rainy March day, so most of the animals were snuggled up inside. We didn't see a lot of them. :-) But I was mainly there to see the reptile house, so I was happy with our visit anyway. My mother was just there because I was there, so she didn't really care, she mostly just wanted to get it over with. :-D

I took a bunch of pictures, they weren't all that, but here are the best ones.

Welcome to Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny w Warsawie. :-)

The first animals we saw were the flamingos. They were out in the bad weather, looking a bit bedraggled by the rain.

Check out those legs. :-D

Some outdoor scenery. I bet this place looks wonderful in the summer ... when it's also teeming with visitors. The Warsaw Zoo is visited by approximately 600,000 people every year. About ten of them while we were there. :-)

The aquarium was pretty good. At least the fish part ... they had some monkeys in one section of it too, but poor things, they didn't look too happy. And it reeked, too. Poor little critters. :-(

I found Nemo! :-D

Seahorses. I love seahorses, they're completely fascinating creatures.

zomg elephants!!1

The elephants were kind of wrestling with each other and seemed to be bickering over a hole in the ground. I don't know what that was about. :-) But I got some wonderful shots of them. I was so thrilled to see them ... even though I am quite sceptical of the whole elephants in zoos thing. But that's a story for another blog post.

A lama out in the rain.

Goats staying out of the rain.

We got to see the penguins at feeding time. :-) Hoomin! U has fudz??

Please donate to your local zoo!! :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some complaints and a joke

What a day I've had. Not the best day at work. O. had the day off, he's been doing overtime like crazy (I'm tempted to say as usual) and really needed some r&r, so he's in Trondheim for a long weekend. He used to live there when he was a student so he has a bunch of friends there still. Anyway, it would just be me and S., who I think I've mentioned once before - he's really young, only 21, and he's also our most recent hire, so he's like the junior employee. It would just be me and him in the store today, where normally there's four of us. But one's on sick leave and the other, as I said, had the day off. Now guess who called in sick today. o_O

So, that really sucked. Fortunately a couple of the sales guys were going to be in the building most of the day, so I had them to help me out when it just got too busy. At least one of them was in the store most of the day, from around 10am when people really started coming in. It was busy too, surprisingly busy for a Friday ... didn't let up till closing time. And the store is pretty big, it's 1250 square meters ... obviously no way one person can keep track of that alone. So it was busy and I didn't get anything whatsoever done in terms of normal chores - inventory, stocking shelves, paperwork. And I also had to let almost all my incoming phone calls just be picked up by the switchboard at head office. So I guess some people may have been kind of pissed off at me since I was impossible to reach almost all day. But I can't risk getting dragged into something on the phone when a customer may need me at any time and there's literally not a single other person available to help them. :-(

In fact I know that some people were pissed off, because one of the abovementioned salesmen, F., took most of their calls. :-D And a few other screwups happened too that also really annoyed him. He came by to see me before he left for the day and was just really hanging his head ... he'd had a bad day, poor guy. So I told him a joke to cheer him up. He thought it was hilarious. Now I'm going to tell it to all of you too. But I can't promise that you'll agree with him.

OK, so, a married couple are living in a house that's in need of some repairs, but the husband's pretty lazy and isn't too eager to get all those little jobs done. His wife is constantly nagging him about it, but nothing ever gets done. The roof needs fixing, if nothing's done about it then it'll be starting to leak into the attic pretty soon, when are you gonna fix the roof?? The husband says sheesh, what am I, a roofer? The kitchen sink is dripping, everyone's going crazy with that sound, a gasket needs to be changed or something, when are you gonna do something about the sink?? The husband says sheesh, what am I, a plumber? Well, the railing on the porch is falling apart, it's getting dangerous, what if the kids lean on it and it breaks and they fall and hurt themselves, how are you gonna feel then?? When are you gonna fix up the porch?? The husband says sheesh, what am I, a carpenter?

You get the picture. So, it goes back and forth like this. But then one day the husband comes home from work and he sees that the roof is all fixed. He goes in the house, goes to the kitchen, and sure enough, the sink's not leaking anymore. Of course he has to check the porch, and would you look at that, a brand new railing's been put up. Wow! How has all this happened? He goes to find his wife and he asks her how all this stuff has been fixed all of a sudden. She says well, you know John from down the street, he's a real handyman, he can do all kinds of work? He came over and fixed some things around the house today. The husband says OK, wow, that was really nice of him. But he didn't do it all for free, did he? The wife says no, he didn't, but he didn't want money. He said I could either bake him a cake or I could have sex with him. OK, says the husband, I guess that's a good deal, so what kind of cake did you make? Sheesh, says the wife, what am I, a baker?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My message to the world

Norwegian blogger Thomas Moen has issued a challenge to the blogosphere ... or at least to the Norwegian part of it, I guess. Write a post [on your blog] with a picture of your hand, on which you have written a message you want to share with the world, and encourage other bloggers to do the same. So here's my message. Anyone else wants to join, well, the more the merrier. :-)

I found out about the challenge over at unfiltered perception. Thanks for the tip. :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Customers, sheesh

As everyone who's ever worked in a store knows, it'd be the perfect job if it wasn't for all the customers. ;-) But sometimes they can really brighten your day, too. Sometimes fun things happen. Well, at least you gotta take it like a fun thing. Otherwise you'd have to kick someone to get over teh stupid.

So, a couple of guys come in the store the other day. They were, I want to say 50+. I'm not going to say where they work, but let's just say that if I were to mention it, nine out of ten Norwegians - at least - reading this would know the company. I ask them what they're looking for and they tell me that they've had some hassle from the health and safety people, and apparently they have to replace some things now for some reason. They need safety shoes for when they do inspections, can I help with that? Yes indeed, I sure can. At first I thought they only needed shoes - they were real talkers, these guys :-) - they told me about this and that and the other, we had a nice conversation. The funniest part was when they said that they'd been told by this inspector guy that they should go online and buy their shoes and the other stuff. (We have an online store option and this company are registered there, of course.) Buy shoes on the internet??! What the dang hell is that about?? No sir, that ain't gonna happen. No way, no how. They were funny. :-D

And here comes the really funny part. I found them some good shoes, and then they needed some other things too. Like helmets. Apparently now they had to replace their helmets too. There's no end to what these safety people are demanding. OK, so I asked the guy who said this - the other one was looking at gloves - how old his helmet was, the one that he had now. Oh, let's see ... he got that probably in 1990.


WTF are people thinking??? If this guy had actually ended up in some accident and that helmet had needed to take a hit, it would have broken apart into a million tiny pieces and his head would have busted open instead. It was nineteen years old. Jesus H Christ on a crutch. The other guy had a much newer one, though, it was only from 1996. Yeah, color me impressed. o_O

I sold them a couple of the new Solaris helmets from Peltor, which actually tell you when they need to be replaced, if that's before their three year life span is over anyway. They seemed to think that three years wasn't much to brag about, but here's hoping that the gadget freak in them will make them keep an eye on the sensor anyway. Here's hoping. :-D

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome to Norway, Mr President!!

Hey, man, we're happy to see you even though your visit will mean a total lockdown situation in our capital and at our main airport, and even though we will have to spend millions to prevent crazy people from shooting you. But if you want to have Norwegian plates on your car while you're here - for about 24 hours, of which you will be driving one, maybe one and a half - you're going to have to pay 700,000 dollars.

You think I'm kidding? I'm not kidding. :-D

Seven hundred thousand dollars. Gotta love it! :-D

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brother and sister

Pretty good-looking siblings, I think. And you wouldn't think that there's twelve years between them. I love Karina's necklace in this picture ... and the way it matches her lipstick. :-) Keanu though needs to get a haircut ... so in other words, here's hoping shooting starts soon on Henry's Crime. ;-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome home, Anton!!

Quote of the Week:
A house is not a home without a pet.

Well, I'm back home after the trip to Hurum, which went perfectly, exactly as planned, without a hitch. :-) The little guy wasn't too happy to see us at first, but he turned out to be quite confident and sociable, and very quickly asserted his presence. :-) He was also strong and healthy; a bit overweight, IMO - not fat, but chubby - but that can be sorted out. So there was no reason for him not to come with us ... and into the travel cage he went. With the heating pad, which I'm afraid was malfunctioning to some extent, and an insulating blanket.

He burrowed into the towel that I keep on the bottom of the travel cage. Much more than this, too. When we got home we had trouble digging him out of the folds of the towel, he was hard to find. :-D

We just had to let him out of the cage a little as soon as we got on the bus. Isn't he just too cute?? :-) I know he has quite a lot of algae on his carapace, but that's going to be scrubbed away very soon. :-)

Crispin, if you read this, beware - your toothbrush is in grave danger ... !!!

Are you lookin' at me?!

And here he is - little Anton - with his new twolegs, Anne Ida. Aw, precious. :-) Good luck to the two of you, I'm sure it'll go great. And you know where to find me if you have any questions about anything at all. :-) Thanks for the road trip and for dinner!!

More pictures here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Turtle pictures

I am so excited about meeting the little guy tomorrow. You'd think it was me getting a new turtle. :-D But I really can hardly wait for our road trip. In honor of the occasion, some of my favorite turtle pics from Flickr.

Yes, I know that the new little guy isn't a baby anymore. But turtle babies are just too adorable ... !!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miranda Walker on Ubuntu Cola

Remember that I've mentioned Ubuntu Cola, the world's only fairtrade cola, in a couple of previous blog posts? Well, although I don't drink cola myself, I think this is a great product. Fairtrade options should be available for all commonly marketed products. The creation of Ubuntu Cola as a brand is also quite interesting. This video shows Miranda Walker, one of the founders of the Ubuntu Trading Company, talking a little about that. Both interesting and entertaining IMO. :-)

I filmed this during a fairtrade seminar here in Oslo which I attended in October. It was hosted by Friends Fair Trade.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Books and reptiles

A couple of things going on right now.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is going to visit Norway next week. How cool is that. :-) She will be interviewed in the Wergeland Room at the House of Literature here in Oslo on Thursday, as part of their event series African Week. I will so be there. :-) If anyone's in Oslo then and wants to go too, let me know. I've already got tickets for me and my BookCrossing friend sota48, but it's not too late ... tickets are still available and the seats aren't numbered, so we'd all be able to sit together. ;-) I think it'll be really interesting. I hope they'll be allowing cameras; if so, I'll be recording at least parts of the event, so that'll be popping up here and/or over on my book blog. If you're not familiar with Adichie or her work, then you should really check it out. I so recommend both her wonderful novels, Purple Hibiscus and the amazing Half of a Yellow Sun. She also published a short story collection earlier this year, which she will probably be talking about on Thursday ... I haven't read that yet but I plan to do so soon. I'm sure it's wonderful too. :-)

So, at the House of Literature on Thursday, November 19th, at 7pm. Tickets are 80 crowns each, unless you're a student, in which case I think it's 50, and you can buy them online here. And almost all the other events are free entry. :-)

But before then there's something else I'm really looking forward to. Something turtle-related. :-) A friend, who shall remain nameless until, and if, s/he chooses to come forward (because of the ban on reptiles in this country, obviously) really wants a pet turtle ... a Chinemys reevesii like Herman and Henrik, because s/he has gotten to know them and thinks, of course, that they're just so adorable. ;-) S/he wants a male because of the size thing that I discussed in a previous blog post, here. Obviously you can't just buy a turtle in this country ... and even if you could, since my friend wants to be sure to get a male, it wouldn't necessarily work anyway if s/he could buy one over the counter or openly from a breeder in this country. Because that would be a baby and you can't always tell the sex when they're babies. So the way to go is to adopt an adult turtle or a juvenile that needs a new home. :-)

Which, just FYI, I would recommend anyway, because for one thing it's a very nice thing to do, and for another it's easier to care for an adult turtle than it is to raise a baby one.

Anyway ... because my friend hardly knows anything about reptiles other than in theory, and also doesn't know the reptile hobby scene at all, I was given the task of finding a turtle. Which took a while, mainly since this is a big country :-) but this past weekend, finally, success! :-) A couple out in Hurum have been trying for a while to find a new home for their reeves turtle, who is two years old or thereabouts, and who will now in all likelihood be moving to Oslo on Sunday. :-D

Aww, look at him, he's not happy. He doesn't want to show his plastron. But who does?? :-D His owners for their part haven't quite figured out the macro setting on their camera. But have no fear, I'm pretty sure that I'll be getting lots of chances to take better shots of him. ;-)

My friend is setting up the aquarium even as we speak - I think it was delivered today - and we're going on a road trip on Sunday to probably pick up the little guy. I say probably because obviously I can't advise my friend to adopt him if he's obviously ill in some way. That's mainly why I'm going along - since I'm so much more experienced with turtles it's a good idea for me to look this one over and make sure that there's nothing obviously wrong with him. Because that could potentially be very expensive for my friend. But I'm pretty sure he'll turn out to be fine. :-) His current owners seem like responsible people who will have taken good care of him ... and turtles are generally sturdy little critters. :-) So I'm in part also going along just for the fun of it. :-D

And don't worry, we're bringing a heating pad along to make sure he won't be cold on the trip. :-) I wish we could have done this in the summer, but like I said, turtles can't just be picked up on every street corner around here. Which is a good thing, don't get me wrong. But the situation's too extreme the way it is now. Oy vey. I'm really looking forward to Sunday, though. :-)

Oh, and Helge Reiss has died. Aw. :-( Professor Drøvel is no longer among us. :-( For some reason I always remember him as the Scarlet Pimpernel ... even though I remember pretty much nothing about that series. Or even if it was real or I just dreamed it. o_O He was 81 years old, so I guess he had a pretty good run. Working up till this year, doing one of the Norwegian voices for Up. One of the golden oldies. :-) RIP.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It doesn't work, but let's do it anyway

There are two media-circus type trials going on in this country right now ... or, one at least is a huge media feeding frenzy. The other one has been getting less attention, but it's still being reported widely. The two cases are totally unrelated, but the crimes are the same - sexual abuse of children. A lot of children, over long periods of time. And just so it's said: Yes, that is so awful in so many ways. None of the following is to be taken as any indication that I don't think it's completely horrible.

But it just really get my hackles up the way this type of thing is reported in the media, and the way the general public responds to it. First of all I just hate the way it's always said that someone has been 'convicted of pedophilia'. Argh ... !! No! No one is ever 'convicted of pedophilia'! It's not illegal to be a pedophile! Would you say of a man who was sent to jail for raping a woman that he was 'convicted of heterosexuality'? Of course not. Because it isn't illegal to be a heterosexual, it isn't illegal to be a homosexual, and it isn't illegal to be a pedophile. What is illegal is to force your own sexual activities on others. But that is entirely unrelated to one's sexual orientation. In fact, AFAIK, a great many child abusers are not pedophiles. But still it's always the same thing - 'convicted of pedophilia'. One of the most commonly seen glaring inaccuracies in the media today.

It also really gets me the way people are so eager to demand the blood of anyone who's been 'convicted of pedophilia' ... or even when they haven't been convicted, as in these two ongoing cases. There was a report about it on the news tonight, which is what inspired this post ... they showed screenshots from Facebook saying things like 'pedophiles ought to be executed'. I mean ... what? We should kill people simply for being pedophiles? Even if they've never harmed a fly? That is so wrong on so many levels. :-(

But also of course people are wanting, nay, demanding, a sort of Megan's Law here in Norway. Sigh. They reject my reality and substitute their own ... o_O

Because the fact of the matter is that Megan's Law just doesn't work, and in fact often makes things worse. I'm not going into why, I've worked overtime today and I'm pretty tired ... but it's just the simple facts. It doesn't work and it doesn't make everything better and it doesn't keep your children safe. Read this excellent article, or if you're really interested, this study done by the US Department of Justice. And please, if you're ever in that situation, don't vote for or support any kind of Megan's Law without doing some serious research beforehand. If you're thinking right now that if we had that law, things would be so much better ... think again. The world is not as simple as you believe. :-(

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oren Peli: Paranormal Activity

Time for a movie review again. :-)

Spoiler alert below.

I went to see a movie yesterday that isn't in theaters yet ... not here, I mean. It'll open on December 4th. This was a preview screening hosted by the distributor, they'd hired one of the small screens at Colosseum. I'd gotten hold of a couple of free tickets, so I invited Anne Ida to go with me. Neither of us knew much about the movie beforehand; Anne Ida I think knew hardly anything :-) and I'd just heard that it's an extremely low-budget horror movie that's being talked about a lot and earning a shitload of money. I didn't know anything about the story or the actors and so on. But when it sounds kind of interesting and it's free, I personally don't worry much about the plot details.

Which are that there are really only two characters in the movie ... there are two more who are each in the movie for a few minutes, but basically we follow two characters, Micah and Katie. They're a couple who have been together for three years and live in what looks like a pretty new house in San Diego. There are weird things going on in the house ... but it isn't haunted, because whatever it is, it's not attached to the house, but to Katie. Strange things have been happening around her since she was eight, but recently they've gotten worse and it's starting to freak her out. As the movie opens, Micah has bought a camera with the intention of filming their everyday life, hoping to catch these paranormal activities on tape. He sets the camera up in their bedroom at night, etc. (But don't hope for anything too exciting; she makes him turn it off whenever they're going to do anything that's 'illegal in Kentucky'. ;-) He's something of a skeptic, he's not at all sure about what's happening, and he's definitely not convinced that it's dangerous. But as events progress, his opinions change ... >:-)

So this is basically The Blair Witch Project, except in someone's house and not in the big black woods. The camera captures lots of weirdness, they film each other at various times and the tape is also left running when they're out, on one memorable occasion. The situation escalates and gets progressively worse and scary things happen. Until ... :-o

Was it any good? Yeah, it's pretty good. The actors are good, I really bought this as a potential home video thing. I like the fact that they show us so little, and let us mostly just infer the scariness. What's mainly intended to scare the audience is the couple's reaction to what's going on. It works up to a point. Of course there's the typical silliness of thanking Micah and Katie's families in the opening credits, for allowing this footage to be used, etc ... which obviously nobody buys. I mean, come on. But if you can suspend your disbelief for about one hundred minutes, this is good entertainment. Well scripted, a good plot with talented actors. Don't expect too much, though - if you check out the movie on IMDb, you'll see lots of people saying that 'you won't sleep after seeing this', etc. Meh. If you're very high strung and overly nervous, maybe. I slept very well. ;-) But I did jump in my seat a couple of times, I'll admit that ... although it must also be said that those were the times when the movie practically begged me to do so. :-) *** I though the actors were convincing, and the plot was good, but I don't think any normally equipped adult will believe for a second that this is actually put together of footage left by a guy who died at home in mysterious circumstances after his girlfriend vanished without a trace. *** Oh, oops ... >:-)

The audience was filmed during this screening, so maybe you'll see a glimpse of us in the Norwegian trailer. Wahey.

Here's the official US trailer:

If you like psychological horror without blood and gore, then check out this movie, definitely. But don't expect to be scared awake all night. It's pretty good, but it's not that good. :-)

In theaters here in Norway on December 4th.