Friday, July 31, 2009
Doppler by Erlend Loe
An Earthly Crown by Kate Elliott
Det som er mitt by Anne Holt AUDIO
Pinnsvinets eleganse by Muriel Barbery AUDIO
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
Kurt quo vadis? by Erlend Loe AUDIO
Den rettferdige by Helene Uri
Kurt koker hodet by Erlend Loe AUDIO
Kurtby by Erlend Loe AUDIO
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Folkemordenes svarte bok by Bernt Hagtvet, ed.
Røsten by Arnaldur Indridason AUDIO
The Book of Daniel by EL Doctorow
Ten Little Niggers by Agatha Christie
Vinterbyen by Arnaldur Indridason AUDIO
Penelopiaden by Margaret Atwood
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Skjeggete damer og siamesiske tvillinger by Herman Berthelsen
12 printed books, 3,694 pages.
8 audiobooks, 62h 52m.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. No question. High class entertainment, people!! ;-)
Very little to choose from. I have to say that Skjeggete damer og siamesiske tvillinger, a book about freaks and freakshows that I borrowed from AudiX78, was certainly the most entertaining one. :-)
Much harder to choose here (as opposed to the fiction category). Maybe Pinnsvinets eleganse ... I don't think I would have come across it on my own and it was a wonderful read, and wonderfully read, too. :-)
Can you tell that I've had a lot of free time lately ... ?? :-)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
This is the Latvian entry from the 2005 ESC ... a slow ballad with totally profound lyrics. ;-) The first time I heard this song I completely hated it, I thought it sucked ass ... I was so sure that it would just crash and burn, I couldn't believe it when it made it through from the semi. And then, in the final, it ended up placing 5th. And at one point it even looked as if it might win!! o_O Total weirdness to me then. But I bought the CDs from the show and somehow found myself listening to that song again and again. It really grew on me and now it's one of my favorites from that year. So you never can tell. Hear that, Paz?? ;-)
This is Valters Fridenbergs and Karlis Bumeisters, Valters and Kaža, whichever you prefer, performing The War Is Not Over by Mārtiņš Freimanis. He competed for Latvia in Kyiv on May 19th and 21st, 2005.
If you have to tell the reporter interviewing you that you are a rock star, then you probably aren't.
I freely admit that I've hardly heard any music by this person at all, but I feel that this is a universal truth more than anything else. >:-)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
She had some things for me from my grandmother's house, which was sold a couple of months ago. (It's so weird to think of her house all empty like that ... but on the other hand I am happy that a family will soon be living there, a family of four who love the house and can't wait to move in. Life goes on. :-) I didn't want to lug most of it on the bus with me, so I only took with me a few things. First and foremost my grandmother's bunad silver. So, yay. :-) Now the next time I wear my bunad I will have everything I need. :-)
Here it is:
The one to the left is really old ... I think my grandmother got it for her confirmation, which must have been in 1931. o_O I don't know whether it was bought new at that time, or whether it was something another family member had owned before ... but I'm absolutely sure that my grandmother was very happy to get this beautiful gift. :-)
I also got two other pieces of silver - from the huge collection of skiing trophies my grandfather collected over his lifetime. See the tiny dents on the little one? Those are tooth marks from when my mother was very small and her father let her play with this tiny silver trophy. I never knew that, but my mother told me about it tonight. Aww. :-)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
We sailed from town to a little place about an hour and a half away (by boat, that is) called Narestø, which was just too gorgeous ... it was ridiculously idyllic, it was enough to make the city slickers among us nervous. I mean, seriously ... looking at this place made me more than half convinced that they were sacrificing babies in the basements or something, because it really seems impossible that something like that could be as good as it looked. ;-) Here, I'll show you pictures. :-)
The town ... which is partly on the mainland and partly on several islands.
A typical Southern house.
The sun and the sea and so on ... :-)
I had to take a picture of this ... !! And I made a lol of it on Failblog, look here. I can't imagine it'll make it to the front page, but I just had to do it. Click to enlarge, or go here for a closeup. For the non-Norwegian speakers among us: the sign says no parking ...
Some local wildlife.
Anéa's uncle pointed this house out to me. It looks weird, doesn't it?? It is weird ... ! It was built (a couple of centuries ago, probably) after the stairs next to it was already in place, so, well, what can you do. :-D
But this house ... !!! This house is just too adorable for words. I want to live in this house.
The city was (mostly) so pretty in the perfect summer weather ... and the clouds were quite entertaining. o_O
Our boat was a traditional wooden one, typical of southern Norway.
The fjord glittering in the sun ... !! :-)
Anéa (right) and her friend R. striking a pirate pose in honor of the maritime setting.
Arriving at Narestø we were warned to be on our best behavior, or our host & hostess' watchtiger might take exception to our presence ... ;-)
Foxgloves are some of my favorite flowers. They're rarely seen in my part of the country, but at Narestø they were everywhere.
One of Narestø's few claims to fame is that it was outside this patch of our endless coastline that the slave ship Fredensborg went down in December 1768. There are several houses still standing from that period, and check this out: do you see the topmost window in this red house? That was Fredensborg's captain's room during the winter after the wreck. :-o
The ship had three black slaves on board; one of them was very well behaved, and was allowed to move about quite freely. The other two, however, were alleged to be less trustworthy, and were forced to spend the winter in the cellar of this house, right across the path from the captain's lodgings. That must have been so awful for them. :-( But it was very interesting to me to suddenly stumble upon a piece of history like that.
The redcurrants weren't ripe yet, but getting there, getting there ... :-)
Monday, July 27, 2009
It was suspiciously easy. And it turned out just the way I wanted it to, which things I make rarely do. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) What do you think? I'm pretty happy with it. It features the ever adorable Pestus, in a less than charming moment, as Basement Cat, and my hand as the cuddle device. I just took so many lousy shots of him this afternoon that I just had to use them for something. And I maded a lolcat. Whee!
You can see it on I Can Has Cheezburger? here, and I guess you can vote for it and leave comments and stuff like that. I don't think it'll make it to the front page, but, well, I maded it, anyway.
Here's another lol, to at least pretend that I'm keeping to the Monday theme ...
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
More pictures from Sakkara, the ancient necropolis on the outskirts of Cairo. My first post on it is here - that was all my own pictures, and all the ones in this post are CH's. I still can't believe that we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves. o_O
The necropolis is sheltered on the city side by date groves. We had a chance to look at them while we were waiting to get in ... we were there so early that the gates hadn't actually opened yet. Hatem told us a bit about the Egyptian date industry - it's one of their biggest exports - and that the plants we were looking at were red dates. As opposed to some other color that I, alas, can no longer remember.
Me in the hall of pillars. Just the fact that I was standing there was so amazing, I mean, those pillars are 4600 years old. I can hardly grasp it. Amazing.
This little dog was quite interested in us, as the only one of the ... about a dozen dogs that were lounging around the place. I guess it was hoping for treats. Alas, we had none. And we didn't quite dare to pet the little critter since who knows what kind of bugs wild dogs may have. It was kind of cute though.
A view out towards the desert and the pyramids of Dashur. The Bent Pyramid to the right.
Various ruins with ongoing excavations. It is so incredibly obvious what is sandstone and what is Aswan granite. This was very striking on a site we visited in Alexandria as well. Sandstone doesn't last long in the desert, but the granite shipped from Aswan is incredibly hard and endures almost everything. Again, those pillars are more than four and a half thousand years old ... but look at them.
More pictures from Sakkara here. The pictures labelled with *** are by CH, the rest are mine.
Friday, July 24, 2009
One of the rather unusual things they've done is turning a season finale into a music video. This is (most of) the cast at the end of the fourth season lipsynching to Brighter Discontent by The Submarines. A good idea and a really good song.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
What happened was, first, that I got some bad news at work. Not crisis level news, but still, bad news. And pretty surprising news since only about a week earlier I'd been given the strong impression that no way would this happen. >:-( Basically my boss called me in for a meeting and told me that because of the problems the company's in, something needs to be done ... and like two of our three in-house daughter companies, the solution they're going to try is temporary layoffs. There's a word for it in Norwegian - permittering - I don't know if there is an exact word for it in English. (Please enlighten me if you do know the word. :-) Basically it means that you don't lose your job, you just don't work for however long it lasts till there's work for you to do again. The daughter companies have chosen to do this across the board, with 20% cuts in work time for every employee, but because my boss thinks, and I actually quote, that solidarity is a bad word and a ridiculous idea, we are going to cut one person 100%. And that lucky person is me. :-(
I'm sorry to say that I understand completely that he chose me, when he had to pick someone. He had very little to choose from. We're nine people who work there. He obviously couldn't cut himself. Then there are two people who do unique jobs, ie, there's no overlap with any other employee in the tasks that they do. The, what, operations manager (driftssjef) we can't do without. And the secretary/girl Friday, well, it would be pointless to cut her, because then I would have to take over her job, and then we'd be in exactly the same fix. He could have cut someone in the warehouse, except that since we moved in January we no longer have any warehouse staff on our payroll, because they were moved to a separate company to do their thing for us and all the daughter companies together. So that's out. That leaves the salesmen and the store personnel. We have four salesmen right now, so theoretically he could have cut one of them and gone down to three. Only problem is that one of them has already resigned. :-( He's really young and he's going back to school, and he's only working till the end of July. So that would be pointless. If he even could be given this temporary layoff thing during his notice period, I'm not at all sure that that's allowed. But even if it is, it'd only be for two weeks, so that'd be totally pointless. That leaves the two of us in the store, and since the whole point is to save money, of course they cut the one with the highest salary. Yours truly. :-(
So, I understand it, but it still sucks. Partly because I really don't like being in this situation. But partly, and mainly, because of the ironical fact that there actually is plenty of work for me to do. I seriously don't know how they're managing without me (and I'm really worried that the very young man who's now left to do my job as well as his own (which I'm not convinced that he's entirely on top of yet) will be so overworked that he'll get enough and quit before this is over). This is a company that was founded in Trondheim and has its main office there, with branches all over the country. Some of the branches are doing better than others ... specifically, the Oslo department is doing best of all. We're actually doing well. We need all hands. o_O I'm not joking, I wish I was. We're doing well, but the problem is that the company as a whole is struggling a bit and that, unfortunately, is what counts. So. I'm getting a reaaally long summer vacay this year. :-(
The crazy part is that this week we're in now, where you'll notice that I am in fact not working, was one of the weeks that I originally asked to get off as vacation time. This one and the next ... which were the same weeks that our O.M. had already been given off. So I wanted to not work during those weeks. And my boss said, and I quote, Oh, that might be difficult. Have you booked anything? You haven't booked anything, right?
Anyway ... when I was told about it, I was pretty upset, and for the next day or so really worried. Mostly on principle, I think. Because it really isn't a crisis ... nowhere near. Financially I'm absolutely not worried. And time-wise, well ... What they're saying is that this will last 'till fall', through the summer. Which is June, July, August. When I was told this, there was half a working day left of June. July, that's four weeks, I worked two of those. August, that's four weeks, but I was supposed to have three of them off anyway. So that doesn't leave much of the summer. And by then, well, we'll just have to see. My boss is so optimistic and wants me back asap and will keep me posted on absolutely everything and bla bla bla. I just hope for the best, nothing much I can do. And like I said it's not a crisis. Except that I do worry about all the time I'm sure I'm going to waste. And I just was really upset, because this is bad news and nothing like it has ever happened to me before. So for a day or so I was worried and upset. But then, like I mentioned in my first post, something much much worse happened that made all of this just fade into the background. :-(
As I said, I don't know any details yet. So I don't know how worried I should be, or what I can do, if there's even anything I can do, which I doubt. Even if there isn't, I so want to know. But there's lots of tests that have to be done, and of course they're not doing things like that in the summer. So it's been scheduled for August, late August. Until then we basically know nothing. It's a really bad feeling and I guess that's what I'd like to pretend isn't real. I wish it worked. :-(
What's happened is that my mother hasn't been feeling quite herself lately, and when wishing it away didn't work for her either, she decided that she just had to see her doctor and find out for sure. My mother's a real worrier, and her imagination is way too good ... she's the kind of person who just invents things to worry about if there isn't anything real. So she knew she had to find out for sure, or she'd drive herself crazy. And I have to say, although it's so hard to know this, I am glad she did, because now that it's been caught early, hopefully there's something they can do. But I am SO sad for my mother's sake, because for her this is really the worst thing that could possibly have happened. :-(
Again, we don't actually know this for a fact yet, because the serious testing hasn't been done. But her doctor, who has years of experience and who she totally trusts, says that he has no idea whatsoever what on earth else this could possibly be. So there's no reason to hope for anything other than that my mother really has Parkinson's disease. :-(
I can't even tell you how awful I felt hearing this. Because this is absolutely the worst thing my mother could have gotten. Cancer would have been better. I know that sounds bad, but it's true. My mother's aunt, my grandmother's younger sister, has Parkinson's, she's had it for years, a really bad case. (Now, rather mysteriously, drastically improved since she moved into sheltered accommodation a couple of months ago. o_O) My mother has seen this for many years and has felt so bad for her aunt, and has built up this nightmare image in her mind of how dreadful this disease is. It's the absolutely worst case scenario for her. She was so upset when she told me. We just talked on the phone, and I felt so bad not being able to put my arms around her and hug her. (And it was especially not a good time to tell her my job woes ... so in fact I still haven't told my parents about it, believe it or not.)
I'm happy now that my grandmother's dead, because knowing that her beloved daughter also has this disease that she watched for many years almost cripple her sister ... that would have just crushed her. :-(
So ... two bad things, one just regulation issue bad and the other really awful ... none of which I can do anything about. I haven't even looked into the whole Parkinson's thing yet because I want to know more facts about my mother's case specifically before I bury myself in frightening information that may not be the information that I need. If that makes sense. In the meantime there's nothing I can do but worry. My parents are at our cabin in the mountains now, and they've also been up the coast to visit my father's family ... they've seen my cousins' new babies, which I know my mother was really looking forward to ... (and by 'my cousins' new babies', I mean my cousin R.'s baby son and also her older brother H.'s baby son, two entirely different little fellows almost the same age :-). My mother seems to be doing pretty well. But like I said, she is a worrier. And now she has the whole summer to construct the worst possible nightmare scenarios in her head. :-(
Examples: She's already worried about when they will have to move out of the house. And she told me that she'd been strawberry picking, which she usually does every June, but this year she's picked much much more than she normally would, because next year she may not be able to pick any at all. :-(
So. This is not a good summer for me. I worry too much, I'm in a bad mood too much of the time, and I'm disappointed in myself for lazing about and wasting lots of time on doing nothing - as I knew I would; too much free time isn't good for me, it never has been, I never do anything sensible with it - and I just know I'm getting bad habits, staying up too late and sleeping till all hours. So that when I do go back to work, I'll have made it difficult for myself to get back to my routines. Such as they were. I know it's a bad idea, and I know there's so much I could and should get done now that I have the time, but somehow it just turns out this way anyway. >:-(
If anyone feels that this is TMI and this is too public a place for it, well, too bad. I actually think it's a pretty good place. I've told a couple of my friends about this, but ... I just can't manage to tell every single person that I should tell, separately, and repeat this again and again. It's been bad enough the times I have told it, and now that I've written it down. Quite a few of my friends read this blog, and, well, now you all know. :-(
Hopefully in a month or so I will have learned more. Until then there's nothing I can do but worry.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So, I'm sitting here innocently watching an old episode of Futurama, right? They're doing reruns twice a day on ViaSat4. The episode was one of the Anthology of Interest ones, and I got a little curious about whether those were originally made for one particular time of the year, like the Treehouse of Horror episodes on The Simpsons. (The answer is no.) So I end up on Wiki reading old episode synopses and reminiscing. And while I'm doing that - this is after the episode is over - I've switched the TV to teletext just so I won't be distracted by the commercials or whatever. It's on the front page and the main news item changes every so often. Seriously, this was too weird. Get this.
I'm reading the main page on Wiki about the show, and on the top of the page there's info about the original run, the rerun periods, there's info about the four movies (which I shamefully have not seen yet!!) and then it says that Comedy Central has picked up the show for one new season. OMG brand new season brand new episodes OMG!! :-o I've probably just been in a coma and everybody knows this, but it was total news to me. But of course I'm thrilled, right!!? New Futurama episodes, that's fantastic. I can hardly wait (although, if they're airing in 2010 in the US, when the hell will we get to see them here, then??). Then, after reading this, I scroll down the page and read the list of the cast. Just for the nostalgia of it. Aah, Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio. Bender rules!! On margin, Zoidberg wants to buy on margin!! Ahem. And then I glance at the TV screen, and I see this ...
... the top news item now reads, Futurama Voices Get the Can. o_O I go to the page to read the item, and what it says is that because the original cast are demanding so much money to come back to the show, Comedy Central is now looking for new cast members to voice the new episodes. (I googled a bit and apparently nothing's been decided yet, but they're 'negotiating' for some bizarre reason. There's an article here, for instance.) WTF are the odds of this?? I randomly come across information that I'm totally unaware of, and literally within ten minutes I see these news on teletext that I again had no idea of that is so essential to the first piece of news??
Argh, damn my pattern-finding brain ... !! This is too weird. I want chocolate.
And I also want to go on record as saying that Futurama without John DiMaggio is WRONG and BAD. >:-( Give him the money!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The zone has been up for eleven days now. I know, that's nothing!! So that makes it even more amazing, everything that's happened so far. I would have been happy with this much activity in a month. :-) We've had two meetups already, the regular one on Wednesday last week and then a mini one this afternoon in honor of awaywithfairies' visit. It's a great place for meetup, their couches are so comfortable and the service is great. And the waffles are very delicious too. ;-) So I'm sure there will be a great many meetups there in the future. :-)
OK, so, let's see, the zone has released ... 14 books. I have registered the zone as a separate user on BookCrossing.com - I did that when I first started the zone, in its previous incarnation, it's just changed names - and I register and release some books under that username as well as my own which I use for most of my books. So 14 of those books have been released in the new zone so far. Three of those have been picked up and journalled - one by 'one of us' at meetup, one by a BookCrosser that we don't know (at least not yet) and one by someone new. Plus three of the others have been picked up but not journalled. Yet. :-)
At meetup, we usually release some books ... and I'm sure we'll do that more now that we have the zone to keep stocked. It's a great incentive to bring more books to meetup, because you know you have a good place to leave them if nobody wants them then & there. At both meetups put together we have released, let's see ... 20 books. Four have been picked up & journalled by non-BCers, three by a BCer, two have been picked up and then returned without a JE, and three are just gone, no JE yet. Fantastic results already!!
But between meetups someone has to keep the zone stocked with books. Since it's 'my' zone, that responsibility falls to me, mostly. I was a teensy bit worried when I stopped by the day after meetup last week and saw how many books were gone already. Would I be able to keep up? No worries!! So many others have been releasing books in the zone that I've hardly had to lift a finger. :-) BookCrossers (some we know and especially some we don't) have released, get this, 33 books in the zone during these eleven days. :-o I've released a couple, Pierre42 a few, a pretty new BCer called reetakaroliina three, but special kudos to bokelsker, also a very new member who has apparently really fallen for the concept. :-) S/he has released so many great books in the zone, I am totally impressed. It's wonderful to see someone who's so into this great hobby and really making an effort. Thank you so much, if you read this!! :-) Of those 33 books, six are gone with no JE yet, six have been journalled by various BCers (one has been caught twice already!) and one by an AnonymousFinder. :-)
At least two books have already left the country. :-)
One new member has joined BookCrossing.
We have also received an anonymous donation - an unregistered book was left in the zone. I brought it home, registered it and labeled it, and this afternoon it went back on the shelf. Good luck, little book. :-) Semlasson in Sweden has also sent us a package of four books that I'm waiting for now, they will of course be on the shelf as soon as I can get them there once they arrive. It's so generous and so appreciated. :-)
Please be advised that I may have messed up to some extent and these figures may not be entirely correct. There's been so much that I'm finding it hard to keep track. :-D But whichever way you look at it, the new zone is a resounding success.
Yay and hooray!!! :-D
Monday, July 20, 2009
Maybe one day I will write a blogpost about today ... o_O
In totally unrelated news, today marks the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Freaky. I wonder if our species will ever make it to another planet (and yes, I know that the moon is just a satellite, but let me have my flight of fancy) or if we will bring ourselves and/or the biosphere down in a mess of destruction. Gee, that's a tricky one ... >:-(
Oh, and happy birthday to HRH Crown Prince Haakon, who is 36 years old today. This year I wasn't downtown at noon, so I didn't hear the cannon fire, which I did catch last year. (It was fun, it freaked out some American tourists. :-) But I did see the flag flying for the prince over the Parliament building. :-)
Howard Deutch, 2000
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Aung San Suu Kyi, July 1991
Posted in memory of her father Aung San, on the 62nd anniversary of his assassination, July 19th, 1947.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Of course we had to do some shopping while we were there. We'd heard that clothes were relatively cheap and shoes especially. This did pan out although we did of course try to be sensible. ;-) There are lots of little shops all around the side streets downtown, but since we had limited time to look around we decided to check out one of the malls in the city too. We'd read about one that was supposed to be top of the line, Arkadia. It was very easy to get to from downtown, we just jumped on a bus and it took, what, 15-20 minutes. It's new and fancy and from the outside definitely looked the part.
Inside too. :-) It was new and bright and very clean and tidy. And huge ... !! Bigger than it looked from outside.
The American bookstore. English books, yay! I couldn't stop myself from buying a stack of them. Well, they had a 3-for-2 sale. I saved money. I especially looked for Polish fiction in English, and I found two, Death in Breslau and Snow White and Russian Red. I'm looking forward to reading them.