Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - November

Norsk er et lite språk som er i ferd med å dø ut by Fløgstad/Vaa
L by Erlend Loe – AUDIO
Den sorte tulipan by Alexandre Dumas – AUDIO
Människohamn by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche (Penguin 60)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – AUDIO
Kurt blir grusom by Erlend Loe – AUDIO
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Song for Eirabu: Slaget på Vigrid by Kristine Tofte
Kvinnen i buret by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Fuglemannen by Mo Hayder – AUDIO
Mord av klasse by John le Carré – AUDIO
Fisken by Erlend Loe – AUDIO
Sitt ned og hold kjeft by Knut Nærum – AUDIO
Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Det du inte ser by Mari Jungstedt
Det gylne kompasset by Philip Pullman – AUDIO
The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman
The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

10 printed books, 2,998 pages
9 audiobooks, 62h 32m

Monday, November 29, 2010


I try not to think about my life. I have no life. I need therapy.
Keanu Reeves

V. short post today ...we recorded two episodes of the podcast back to back tonight, so that took a while. They'll both be up pretty soon, so keep an eye on the website. We're up to about 500 downloads per episode and we are seriously impressed with ourselves. :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some mountain flowers

Unbelievably shitty weather today ... cold and snow and wind. Brr and yuck. Got to make up for it with some pretty summer flowers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
Noam Chomsky

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mmm, spicy chicken

Here's a first - a blog post about my cooking ... !! I don't know what's gotten into me. But there's no shame in trying something new. Here's the thing: I'm going to send a postcard to a very new Postcrosser - Ruifen from Singapore - and she wants those who send to her to include a recipe for her. Sheesh, I can't fit a recipe onto a postcard! I'm sorry, that's just beyond my abilities. But what I can do is post a recipe here on the blog and put the url on the postcard. So here's a very simple recipe for a delicious chicken dinner, and if Ruifen sees this I hope she will be happy with my solution. :-)

This is extremely simple to make and very quick too, and it's totally yummy. So try it. :-) All you need is the following (this makes one portion):
One chicken filet
Couscous (about 90 grams)
Olive oil
Various spices

You need to start a few hours before you actually plan to eat, because the first thing you need to do is to chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate them in olive oil. Add the spices to the oil ... figure out your own mix, something hot and spicy. Various chilies, various peppers, paprika, whatever you like.

When the chicken pieces have had some time to soak up the goodness, fry them in the oil you used for marinade. Cook a portion of couscous ... this is extremely easy, in case you haven't done it before. One portion of couscous might be something like 80-90 grams of dry couscous and one deciliter of water. Put the water in a pot and add a little salt and a little oil. Bring the water to a boil, take the pot off the stove and pour in the couscous. Leave it for 3-4 minutes till all the water is soaked up. Then stir it with a fork or something and stir in a bit of butter. (Ideally not butter straight from the fridge; if it's soft it blends with the couscous more easily. Obviously. :-) Once that's done you add the harissa, to taste. Make sure you know exactly how hot the harissa is - the brand I use is Sekem (fair trade from Egypt) and it is really hot, so I need only like one teaspoonful per portion, if that. More than that and it gets to be too much and just kills the flavor.

Put the couscous into a bowl and add the by now deliciously fried chicken pieces on top. (I suppose you can sprinkle something green onto it for added color and texture and healthiness ... I don't know, I don't do that kind of thing, I'm not a rabbit. ;-) Enjoy!! Flavorful and yummy and soo easy to make. :-)

The postcard I'm sending is really cool, it's pink and has a cupcake on it, since Ruifen loves to bake. Lookee:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What's in a name

A quote from this article: Blant de rike skulle det forundre meg mye om ikke navn som Preben og Henrik fortsatt holder stand. Henrik er det mest stabile overklassenavnet, sier Tangen.

The article is about names, naming trends and how names are markers of social background. This Tangen fellow is a teacher at the Oslo School of Management, he teaches human geography. What he said in English, my translation: Among the wealthy, I would be very surprised if names like Preben and Henrik don't continue on strong. Henrik is the most stable upper class name.

Aww ... !! Upper class. I don't know much about upper class people, but apparently upper class turtles like to bite people's fingers. :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goodbye to Gelius, kudos to Kvarme

No, I'm not really that interested in this very public termination process, but that headline was just too good not to use. ;-)

So, Einar Gelius supposedly resigned today. Yeah, well, sometimes that's how it goes down - you get the choice between quitting on your own or being fired. I would soo not be surprised if that's what's happened here. In any case, they were both on the Daily Review tonight and I have to say, kudos to bishop Kvarme. I am not a fan of his - far from it - but that is mostly because of the ideology he represents, not because of him as a person. I know very little of him as a person. I oppose what he stands for, but that's all. However, I did think he came off much better than Gelius on the news tonight. Gelius seemed to be falling apart a bit ... and his arguments were just BS IMO. All he wanted was to make the Church a more open and accepting place, blah blah. Sheesh.

First of all, as I've said, there's nothing to be argued here, it's an open and shut case. When you're hired, you sign a contract; live up to the contract or you're out. Unlike what he seems to think, it's the employer who determines whether the employee fulfils the demands of the job. That's part of what you agree to when you accept a job ... even if you are a wizard.

But more than that, and this is something that a lot of people ought to think about ... Gelius, his various supporters, Kvarme's detractors. Everyone who's got the idea that the Church needs more people like the former and that the latter is a relic from the dark ages who needs to realize that we're living in 2010, man. Here's the thing. You may not like what Kvarme stands for - I know I sure don't - and you may feel that Gelius' warm and fuzzy Buddy Christ take on things is more appealing to you. But please realize that there are limits - and rather specific and narrow limits too - to what you can actually do with Christianity to make it appealing in a modern secularized society where people can read and have electricity and healthcare.

You can't use Christianity to make people feel good about themselves, because it's been specifically developed over the course of two thousand years to make people feel bad. That's the whole point of it. You can't make it make sense, because it doesn't. You can't make it sound good, because it's oppressive and cruel and hateful. Genocide and human sacrifice just aren't good and nice things, there's just no changing that. It is what it is, as Ivana Trump might say. If you change these things, it'll no longer be Christianity. IMO of course that'd be a good thing, but who's asking me. Sheesh.

I'm sure poor Gelius will be missed by a great many idiots, but for my money it's good riddance to bad rubbish. Here's hoping he won't be clogging up the media even more now that he's freed from the burden of making a weekly sermon or performing baptisms and marriages ... unless of course there's an important game happening, in which case you should have picked some other day to get married.

In other news, have you ever heard someone say that a person ought to be protected from themselves? In Norwegian that's kind of a set expression. You ever hear that? Ever wonder what it means? This.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shameless self-promotion

How exciting - the revelation, at long last, of a well kept secret. OK, maybe not so well kept, but at least not promoted. :-) Until now!! This will mostly be of interest to my Norwegian-speaking readers, I'm sorry to say ... that's part of the point. The skeptics among you may be familiar with various podcasts of interest available around the interwebs ... The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is probably the most famous. There are lots of them around - Google is your friend. :-) There's one in Sweden that started up ... early this year, I think? Anyway, it's called Skeptikerpodden, you should check it out - if you understand Swedish, of course.

Now, all of these internet radio broadcast thingummys have one thing in common ... they're foreign. Furrin! Millennium hand and shrimp. That's all well and good, but I'm sorry to say that there are a lot of empty-headed peabrains wandering the streets here in Norway too, and a lot of arrant nonsense floating about. Which of course none of these podcasts from abroad, great as many of them are, ever discuss. So there's a lot of dumbassery that is never discussed on internet radio. It's a sad state of affairs. But! Fear no more, for now this has all come to an end ... !!

Yes, there is now a Norwegian skeptical podcast, and I am lucky enough to be a part of it. We've recorded a pilot (basically a short introductory kind of thing) and two episodes, they are all online, and now we're finally feeling confident enough to publicize it. I am slow ... as usual ... Gunnar beat me to it, for one, and even Fri Tanke. How cool is that, we're getting media attention. ;-) We even have a few comments on our website already. The pilot's been listened to 115 times, if I'm reading it correctly. So yay, we have potential listeners! :-) Of course this will all be in Norwegian, except for those occasions when we have interviews with furriners ... yes, this will happen, just watch. Or listen, rather. We have plans.

The name of the podcast is Saltklypa - from the latin cum grano salis, 'with a grain of salt'. In Norwegian this expression runs 'med en klype salt', ie 'with a pinch of salt'. Our website is here ... it's still a work in progress, but it works. :-) You can follow us on Twitter here, and there's supposed to be something set up on Facebook soon. I don't know, I don't have no truck with that. It'll be linked to on the site. We've all got blogs and what not and the links for those are all on the site. I'm Leisha Camden over there too ... it's the name I'm used to using online, and I don't want to be known under my real name in connection with the podcast - I plan to talk about the reptile law in a future episode, for one thing. :-) So those of you who have that information, please don't out me. :-)

We plan to make new episodes every other week. Bear with us, we're just starting out, it takes a little tinkering. But I think this could turn out pretty good. :-) Feedback is of course welcome and we'd be thrilled to get tips from our listeners, when we get some. You can contact us on Skype or Twitter or through comments on the website. Oh yeah, and we'll be on iTunes very soon. Any unanswered questions, you should know where to go by now. :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie star exploited by conspiracy nuts

True story: Today at work my little colleague, S., opened an article at Nettavisen about the Illuminati. I'm a little anxious about him and this kind of thing because he is a little naive and he has a friend who really is a conspiracy nut, and I don't want him to be influenced by any crazy ideas, because he's a really good guy. So as he glanced through the article I did the same over his shoulder, just to keep an eye on things. :-)

Now, if you look at the article, you'll see a couple of highly recognizable names that pop up. Dan Brown, for one ... so you know it'll be about something BS-y right there. ;-) But don't get me wrong, it's a good article ... in the sense that it makes it clear that this is BS. But anyway. Another name that's mentioned is that of world renowned wacko David Icke. Of course I jumped at the chance to explain to S. that ANYTHING in which Icke is even remotely involved is guaranteed to be complete and utter bullcrap. I did a quick google search to find a few obvious things to back this up. And lookee what I found:

LOL! Guess where I found it? Nyhetsspeilet! For the non-Norwegians among us: Nyhetsspeilet - 'the news mirror' - is a Norwegian website maintained and frequented by conspiracy nuts and other crazies and weirdos. They have no critical standards and will publish anything so long as it fits with their madcap world view. Even, on one memorable occasion, a story that was obviously false and specifically designed to see if they would do even the most basic fact-checking or whether they would just buy it at first glance just cause it sounded like what they wanted to hear. Guess which happened. :-D Anyway ... this is an illustration they've come up with to go with a story on Icke and his fascinating theories about a reptilian superspecies that secretly dominates the world. (I'm not linking to it for obvious reasons, but it's very easy to find.) I'm sure they came up with this because Icke wrote a book some years ago called Children of the Matrix. Published in 2001, but I'm sure the title is just a coincidence. And the front cover too. Weird how that happens sometimes.

Anyway, I thought this was kind of funny. If you just keep your eyes peeled, Keanu's everywhere. I just read Knut Nærum's latest book today - Sit Down and Shut Up - and he's even mentioned in that. Kind of funny. :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nordens Ark 2010

I'm finally getting around to uploading my videos from this year's visit to the Nordic Ark. It's only been three months, I think that's pretty good. ;-) This is the first one, it's basically everything that didn't fit in the other ten. :-D Various scenery and various animals. Check out the leopard ... I still haven't been able to figure out what s/he's chewing on. Any thoughts? I have pictures too ...

Widescreen here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something for everyone

A sign at the top of the stairs at the Museum of Geology. Nice. Now you know where to go for all your crystal, meteorite, fossil and dinosaur needs. :-D

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quote of the Week

We have faith in the power to change what needs to be changed but we are under no illusion that the transition from dictatorship to liberal democracy will be easy, or that democratic government will mean the end of all our problems. We know that our greatest challenges lie ahead of us and that our struggle to establish a stable, democratic society will continue beyond our own life span.
But we know that we are not alone. The cause of liberty and justice finds sympathetic responses around the world. Thinking and feeling people everywhere, regardless of color or creed, understand the deeply rooted human need for a meaningful existence that goes beyond the mere gratification of material desires. Those fortunate enough to live in societies where they are entitled to full political rights can reach out to help their less fortunate brethren in other areas of our troubled planet.

Aung San Suu Kyi

What a fantastic human being she is. I am SO happy that she is out of her house arrest and that she can be among her people again. Fingers crossed that her sons will soon be allowed to travel to Rangoon to see her. She was interviewed on the Daily Review tonight (follow the link and scroll down to find the interview; it's of course in English) and she was just so wonderful. I can hardly believe how calm and contented she seems even after everything that's been done to her. If it was me I'm pretty sure I would have been totally bitter and bitchy. She's amazing. :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Norway's dumbest publisher?

I don't know if it comes as any surprise that this title may well go to Arve Juritzen of Juritzen Forlag. I don't know the man, never will, but anyone who can say what he is quoted as saying in today's Dagbladet (p.16) probably has a brain that isn't functioning properly. It's an article about Einar Gelius and how various celebs think he shouldn't be fired. Gag me with a spoon. First of all, this whole concept is so completely stupid - I really despise this approach in 'reporting'. There's a news item presented and then there's a sidebar with the heading This is what the celebrities think (actually a literal translation). They know the guy, but how the fuck does that make them qualified to have any opinion worth hearing on this?

The situation itself isn't the point of this post, but just so it's said, this is really very simple. The Church of Norway is an employer like any other - the fact that it employs wizards and pays them in tax money doesn't change this. As such it has the right to determine what it expects of its employees, and if there are employees who cannot or will not conform to these expectations, their employment may be terminated. How on earth can this be difficult to understand?

Well, it's too complicated for Juritzen, clearly. He says, and I quote, the following (my translation): That a differentiated view of the bible in 2010 can lead to a vicar losing his job and being kicked out of the church must mean that we no longer have religious freedom in Norway.


So, if I wasn't so lazy, this is what I ought to do. I ought to write a book on ... some interesting topic, let's see ... eugenics. I'd write about how some people are good, valuable citizens and others are not, and it's a damn shame that these days the latter group is breeding so much more than the former. That's a very bad thing for our society, so we ought to change this - we shouldn't be letting these useless people reproduce themselves and their problems like that. Of course I'm not a racist, so this won't be based on race or anything obvious like that. Naturally! I'd come up with some really scientific procedures to sift out the unworthies. Personality tests and so on. But we really need to weed out the trash and improve our society without their trashy genes. I ought to write that book ... and then I ought to take it to Juritzen and ask him to publish it. Which of course he wouldn't do.

According to his logic, that would then mean that we no longer have freedom of speech in Norway. o_O

Of course I'm not going to actually write such a book ... that'd be crazy, and like I said I am a really lazy person. It'd be a lot of boring monkey work just to make a point. Naturally I'm not going to actually do that. And just as naturally, Juritzen's logic is completely flawed. Of course we have freedom of speech in Norway. But the crucial point to understand - often missed by angry bloggers and commenters in online debates - is that my right to express myself freely does not equal Juritzen's or anyone else's duty to publish. I am completely free to say what I choose, but no one is bound to give me a forum to vent my crazy ideas and no one is obligated to listen to my rantings. We absolutely do have freedom of religion in Norway - too much of it, if you ask me - but what far too many fail to understand is that this is a rather limited freedom. You are free to believe what you want without being persecuted for your beliefs. That's it. That's all there is to freedom of religion. You are not free to do what you want just as long as you call it religion ... and you are not free to be excepted from reactions and/or punishment for what you do just because you claim that you think your god told you to do it. And what's most important in this context, you are free to be a Christian in any way you want, but the Church of Norway is not obligated to pay you a salary for it if they don't agree with your views.

Gelius has no doubt signed an employment contract. If he doesn't hold up his end of that contract, he's out. It really is just that simple. Just because the Church doesn't want to pay Gelius for the privilege of using their clout and influence to espouse his ridiculous views, that doesn't mean that anyone is restricting his freedom of religion. To think so is quite simply utterly stupid and shows an ignorance of basic concepts that from someone in Juritzen's position is actually rather worrying. You wouldn't catch William Nygaard saying anything like this.

And for those who think that the Church pushing Gelius out into the cold is rather cruel and hateful, well, wake up and smell the coffee. The Christian ideology is cruel and hateful. Don't pretend like you're surprised.


On an unrelated note, here is something else I despise in the media. Quote: Swedish 62-year-old admits to killing daughter. ... blah blah, knife, honor killing, blah blah ... the family came to Sweden from Iraq six or seven years ago. FUCK THAT SHIT. This is newspeak, it's disgusting. That guy is not Swedish and he never will be. Although, judging from the article, there may be hope for the son.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dyrenes hus

You may not know this about her, but my best friend, Tanumine (formerly known here as C. :-) is a major cat lover. Show her almost anything kitty-related and she will love it. :-) She is also a rather soft-hearted and extremely kind person, so it should come as no surprise that she is a supporter of an SPCA ... more or less local to where she lives now. They cover the area - if I understand it correctly? - but their headquarters is in Bærum, the municipality where both Tanumine and I am from. Unfortunately it's a bit far for her to volunteer her time there, but she donates money and is part of their program where you 'adopt' an animal without taking it into your home, ie pay for food and other expenses so that it can stay safely at the shelter until a new home can be found for it.

No, she doesn't have a cat herself ... alas ... her fiancé isn't entirely sold on the idea. Not yet, at least. ;-)

Anyway ... this organization has a shelter in Bærum, tucked away in the woods out there, where they have usually between 20 and 30 cats at any given time, plus some rabbits and other small animals. Discarded pets, usually. >:-( It's a no-kill shelter so they find homes for anyone that they can nurse back to health. The few that they can't find homes for get to stay there permanently, it seems. Once a year they have an open day at this place so that donors and potential volunteers can come and take a look. They sell various things to raise money as well. This year this event was on August 22nd and Tanumine took me there with her - I didn't even know it was going on, so kudos for that. :-) It was great to see the place and of course I caught it all on film. :-) Adorable critters are irresistible to my camera. :-)

I had to make two videos out of it because I had a little too much footage for just one and I couldn't decide on anything to cut. :-)

Part one ...

Widescreen here.

Part two ...

Widescreen here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A thing or two

I've been meaning to write a post about the fur trade here in Norway again, following the revelations of recent weeks ... and I will, too, just not today. :-) A little too tired today. But I still have to mention it. I was on the 37 bus going downtown this afternoon, I had to go to the library, and I saw a woman there in this huge fur coat. I mean, seriously huge ... sleeves down to here and a collar that her hair got lost in. I only saw her from behind but her hair was graying so she can't have been a young 'un. Which is as expected ... I rather think that young Norwegian women today would prefer to not be seen in a garment like that.

What I wanted to say was that I really don't get the fur thing. I mean, fur farming is a wretched business, absolutely, but even if it wasn't for that, if I knew nothing of that, I still wouldn't get it. OK, sure, it's cold, and fur is warm ... but so is wool, and wool looks so much better. It's the look of the fur wearers that I can't get my head around. I don't know how they look in the mirror and figure that yeah, this looks good. I mean ... it doesn't look good. It just doesn't. Each and every woman who wears fur, whenever and wherever she wears it, looks like a Russian prostitute. (Mom, if you read this, I'm sorry, but it's just the truth. And when you're dead I will burn that fur coat that you were so happy about when dad bought it for you. Sorry.) I just do not get it.

Og før noen begynner å snakke om Janteloven :-D - dét er virkelig bare piss. Noe som forøvrig ble formulert fantastisk bra av brukeren 'Clit Fistwood' (lol!) på Dagbla' på nett i dag. Artikkelen handler om bloggen til Aylar Lie. Helt sant. Les her:

Jeg blir mental forkvaklet og fysisk kvalm av kjendishysteri, og alt det andre rælet som f.eks Aylar representerer. Hva har det egentlig med jantelov å gjøre? Janteloven lyder; "Du skal ikke tro at du er noe/bedre enn andre". Men skal ALLE gå rundt og tro at alt de gjør er så jævlig bra da? Hva hvis det ikke er bra? Det blir litt som at morra til diverse idol-deltakere sannsynligvis har fortalt barnet hele livet at det er kjeeempeflinkt til å synge! Ååå så flink. Vennene tør kanskje ikke si noe annet. Vedkommende går da rundt i troen om at hun/han er flink. Realiteten er kanskje at vedkommende suger. Men selvtiltten og eksponeringsbehovet er på topp! Hvis man da forteller vedkommende, basert på bedre viten, at hun/han har null talent. Er det da jantelov, eller er det fakta?
Slutt og grin om janteloven hver gang ikke alle tisser på seg av glede når en eller annen C-kjendis har fått nye kjønnslepper.

Hahaha, så latterlig bra ... ! :-D

Monday, November 15, 2010

More 'Generation Um'

First stills from Generation Um are out. I am still totally not getting the plot of this thing. o_O These aren't helping.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My favorite insult

Again for those who have been following the comments on this week's blog posts: my friend Calyx has been making some great points about insults being both valuable and entertaining. I absolutely agree with her ... I would also add that insults are sometimes necessary. This is to do with respect, a concept that IMO is often misunderstood. Respect is a two-way street - it has to be earned, it can't be demanded. Respect is also something that is only due to ... let's call it real entities. I as a person, an individual, may be worthy of respect, on the strength of my being an independent sentient creature, a human being and allegedly endowed with certain inalienable rights. My thoughts, however, have no automatic claim on anyone's respect. Any ideology that I follow, any religion, if I had one, any political convictions ... these are not entitled to any respect. They are, and must be, subject to any kind of criticism - including insults - arguments and ridicule.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is our duty as responsible citizens to do just that - insult and ridicule ideologies and beliefs that we find reprehensible and potentially damaging to our community and/or society. Criticism is necessary, absolutely necessary ... and it is very often at its most effective when it takes the form of ridicule. Making something ridiculous is a great way of making it less threatening and frightening. This will of course often be offensive to those who place their faith in that which is being ridiculed ... whether they are Muslims, Tea Partyers (Partiers?), James Blunt fans, Progress Party voters, or anything else ... atheists, BookCrossers, historians or Labor voters (I added those last four for objectivity's sake, could you tell?) ... persons in the relevant group may choose to feel offended, but that doesn't matter. Hurt feelings are not valid arguments.

Of course by saying this I do not mean that ridicule and insult is the only form of argument we should be interested in and that anyone should just shut up and take it. Of course I don't mean that. (Straw men need not apply.) But it does every debate a great disservice to remove these verbal weapons from the debaters' arsenal. And of course the same applies to ridicule as to any other form of argument - you can say what you want, but you may be asked to back it up. You may have to take ridicule in return. That's the way it works. But if someone makes fun of your beliefs - religious, political or otherwise - then claiming hurt feelings is not an argument.

It is also very important to remember that if someone makes fun of your beliefs, that doesn't automatically mean that they're making fun of you. This is something that a lot of theists, especially Muslims, really struggle to comprehend. To the point that it's actually very tiresome. So Calyx, I don't see that what Elizabeth Moon wrote on her livejournal can be called racist. But that's another blog post. :-)

Because this post is called My favorite insult, and that was indeed what I intended it to be about. The best insult I ever heard. It's a true story. I wish I could have been there.

This happened years and years ago, back when someone who made their living with basically nothing but talk could be relied on to actually have a superior command of the language. It happened in Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament. I wish I could remember who the guy was who said it. I love him. :-)

I also don't remember what the debate was about, but it was a heated issue and a lot of emotionally charged arguments were flying back and forth. Finally, one of the MPs got sick of this, asked to be allowed to speak, went up onto the speaker's podium and said that after listening to this debate, he was forced to conclude the following: that half my colleagues in this hall are idiots. Having said this, he went calmly back to his seat.

This of course caused a huge uproar and the debate was totally sidetracked. People were furious with our man and demanded an apology. He showed no signs of planning any such thing ... but many of the others were really very angry and finally the President of Parliament* had to speak up to put a stop to the hullabaloo. He said that this behavior is not acceptable here and you will have to apologize. Alright, fine. Our man went back up onto the podium and said - and this is just too brilliant - I apologize for the offense I've caused, I take it back; half my colleagues in this hall are not idiots.

Then he went back to his seat and refused to get up again for love or money. :-D Gotta love it.

*A mostly ceremonial position; the President has extremely high rank but little actual power. Our head of state is the monarch and our leader of government is the prime minister. Being President of Parliament is an honor bestowed upon senior MPs which is supposed to mostly remove them from politics. :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.
H.L. Mencken

In more uplifting news: moo.com are having a sitewide sale on all their printed products - 30% off through tomorrow ... !! :-o Don't miss it, they've got lots of great stuff. :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Postcard of the year?

Seriously, this postcard has got to be one of the most fantastic pieces of mail I've ever received. In my life. Postcrosser Willemijn (#1 in the Netherlands! woot!) sent it to me, I got it this afternoon. I LOVE it!! She says that it was the closest she could manage to a reptile. :-D

I could not have loved it more if it had been a real crocodile biting a real boy.

Anyone out there who's really good at knitting ... ?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turtle confusion

There was a blackout here tonight - at about a quarter to seven everything just went black. I thought it was one of my fuses that had blown out, but when I went out into the hall it was all dark. The whole neighborhood. :-o That is pretty rare ... it hasn't happened as far as I'm aware in all the time I've lived here, and that's going on five years. I was pretty worried ... it is really cold out now and with no heating, how cold would it get inside? Too cold for the little guys, I think ... so I was worried about that, but there wasn't really anything I could do except wait. So I lit some candles and curled up with a good book.

By the time this happened - the blackout, I mean - it was already dark outside, so of course it got totally dark here in the living room immediately. This was rather confusing for the little fellows. Usually when the light goes out in their tank, it's the basking light first and then the main lights a few hours later ... and when the latter goes dark there's usually some lamps lit elsewhere in the room, so it doesn't go completely dark right away. But that's what happened now. Henrik stood on the bark island and stretched his neck out in this really funny way, trying to look around maybe ... I shone a flashlight in the tank and they came over to beg. Then of course after a little while they went to sleep. That's what you do when it goes dark, obviously. I couldn't blame them.

But then after about one and a half hour the lights came back in the hall, and I fiddled around with the fuse box and got my own lights working again too. Some of the lamps had been on in the living room when the power died, so when I went back in, of course there was light there. And Henrik and Herman were so confused ... !! LOL!! They were lying side by side on the bark island and had obviously just woken up, and they were looking around themselves like ... wut?? :-D Night just started, and now it's day again? Whut? I went to pet them and they threw themselves in the water, they were really out of it. :-D Wish I had filmed it, it was really funny.

Raphael was confused too; he had more light since the streetlamps outside shine in through the window in that room. But still it seemed to be rather strange that his basking lamp switched off, then on, then off again, then on ... I had to reset the timers on all their lights, because obviously the blackout threw off the setting on those. So this was a strange night for my four-legged friends. :-D

Alas, this is not a recent photo. :-(

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Svensk skräck

Another book you should all read. :-)

I just finished this yesterday and, wow, what can I say. Lindqvist is one of my favorite authors and I think that this has almost got to be my favorite book of his. The story is ... ever so slightly far fetched, to be honest :-) but the setting is just ... wow. Incredible. He brings it to life with such incredible vividness, it's like I went there and saw the place myself. Even more so than in his debut novel, Let the Right One In (which I also totally love). It's a kind of horror story, but it's so much more than that too. The main character is a man whose little daughter has disappeared, and I found the journey of this character really fascinating to follow. If you're looking for a good read, an original story and an intense pageturner, then look no further, this is the book for you.

I totally bought the story, btw. :-)

You can also get it in English; it's called Harbour.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Personal Insults R Us

I don't know if anyone reads the comments here, but I was accused of ... well, not accused, that's too strong. We've been having a friendly conversation. Straw men and compliments. But it was said that I put forward a personal insult in this post. This is incorrect - it may have been offensive, but it wasn't personal. That someone may read it and choose to take it personally is something that is totally beyond my control.

The same person who said this - hi, Patrick!! - also seems to be laboring under the misapprehension that I am a nice person here on the blog and that I want to be seen as polite and objective here. (Puttin' words in his mouth, oh yeah!) This is incorrect. I don't know where he got this idea. But I want to make sure to correct it asap.

I've got the perfect topic here too, it's so great. I just watched an episode of Bullshit, it was about romance, and one of the people they interviewed was 'Dr' John Grey. You want to talk about personal insults ... here's what that looks like. What an unbelievable incredible douchebag!!!! I have to say this in Norwegian too, it just has such a special ring to it. Den fyren må være den største klysa på hele planeten. Just the way he looks annoys the shit out of me. Not to mention the way he walks, and then when he starts talking, FUCK ... !!! You can just tell that he's so full of shit before he even opens his mouth. And everything he says is totally retarded. But the worst part is the thought of the people who actually pay money for the shit he's spouting. I call him retarded, he's obviously not, it's just a figure of speech ... but his customers really must be mentally challenged. Up until now I had only just read about this guy, this was my first time seeing him moving and talking. But hearing him now, wow ... I don't understand how anyone would buy a word of it. Those people must be desperate. For what? I know ... I don't get it either ... but there must be something in them that really needs to get some validation from someone, anyone; someone to tell them what to do. No matter how fucking dumb it is.

He's kind of like a fortune teller, because they also just tell you something painfully obvious and then act like it's some kind of mysterious wisdom. If you have the conscience to live with yourself, it's a pretty sweet deal, I guess, cause there's one born every minute. Or actually, 267. I just don't understand how this guy can spout all that shit and still keep a straight face.

I wouldn't buy a second hand chair from that guy, I don't understand how someone can even consider taking life advice from such a massive douchebag. And then even give him their money. I despair of the human race.

But I would totally read Penn and Teller's self-help book, Men Are From Westchester, Women Are From Hoboken. ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

'Generation Um'

Weirdness - imdb.com has this movie listed as only 'rumored' and with a release date - a rumored release date, I suppose - of 2012, yet the poster's already out. Huh.

Anyway - whenever the movie comes out, I'm sure it'll go straight to video here. Alas. Although of course it's hard to say whether that will be any big loss ... AFAIK, so far, this thing seems kind of plot-free and random. But fingers crossed, of course. :-) I'm very happy with the poster, anyway. Doesn't Keanu look fantastic? I love this look on him. Not too clean and not too dirty. ;-) But I have to say it's kind of scary how he seems to hardly age at all. And instead of mentioning Botox and plastic surgery, go check out some non-retouched recent photos of the guy. He does actually have quite a lot of laugh lines and whatnot; the very thing that miracle drugs and surgery are supposed to get rid of. And look around for pictures of his father too - it's good genes that are keeping him young and he got them from his deadbeat dad. Kind of ironical.

Anyway ... it's good genes and a pretty healthy lifestyle. But sometimes one may be excused for wondering what he's got in his attic. ;-)

And no, his father didn't look young last time he was in the news because he lived a healthy lifestyle. Heroin + poverty + heart disease = not healthy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

André Øvredal: Trolljegeren

Does anyone remember this movie that I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I was just crazy about seeing ... ? A Norwegian mockumentary about one of the most central creatures of our folklore, the troll. :-D I was really psyched when I heard about it, cause it sounded so super cool. Well, now I've seen it, and I have to say, it IS super cool. It's awesome!! I love it!! Seriously, it's like my favorite movie that I've seen all year. It absolutely completely rocks. KAS wasn't overly impressed with it, but I have lower standards, so I was just blown away by it. ;-) It's fun, smart, very well made and 100% entertainment. I dig it. I may theoretically go see it again before it's pulled from rotation. And that happens like basically never, except with Keanumovies. So, if you're willing to take my word for anything, trust me on this - you don't want to miss this movie.

You especially don't want to miss the one & only Otto Jespersen in the role he was born to play. Seriously, he is PERFECT in this movie. (Unlike his beard which changes length and level of groomedness (is that a word?) from scene to scene. ;-) The entire cast did great jobs, IMO - I'd perhaps give special kudos to Knut Nærum as a friendly but confused civil servant, but I love Knut Nærum - but Jespersen is just ... OMG. Wow. He's perfect, he couldn't have been better. Just look at him. The eponymous troll hunter. Wahey. :-)

Look closely at his glasses ... :-D

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quote of the Week

Boredom is a moral failing, the mark of a mind insufficiently stocked to occupy itself.
Nancy Kress

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yay for Zazzle

Does anyone remember that I mentioned Zazzle a few weeks ago, and that I had bought some postcards from there ... ? Well, they arrived, it took about a week and a half. So, not very quick shipping, but OK. I got a really good selection, take a look at this:

Cool, huh? The two in the top right corner - the mountain landscape that I've posted here before, ages ago, and the little flower - are my own products. The rest are from other sellers. Now I cannot wait to pull an address on Postcrossing where someone says they're a Jane Austen fan ... !! :-D

But I've already had one major success - see the very colorful hand drawn butterfly in the top left corner? Isn't it fantastic? I love it, it's so cool. Gorgeous. I couldn't wait to send it out. And I was in luck; two days after the cards arrived, I got an address in the Netherlands ... this PXer, Jessica is her name, says on her profile that if you just send her 'a nice colourful' card she'll be happy. So I figured that hey, you want colorful, you'll get colorful ... ! :-) I sent the butterfly, it arrived, and wow, what a response. On Postcrossing.com, you get your own postcard wall, or rather four of them - Received, Sent, Favorites and Popular. (That last one is only visible to you, for some reason.) Here's mine. You can add any card you like to your Favorites wall. It lets other members see what kind of images and styles you like and then they'll maybe send you something similar. I have lots of elephant cards on mine. :-) But where was I ...

Oh yeah, I sent the butterfly card to Amersfoort. Jessica registered it, and three hours later, 21 people had added it to their Favorites. :-o 21, that is through the roof for any of my cards! Before that, my record was 7. I think that's pretty good too. But this one, wow, it went viral, PX style. ;-) Since then even more people have added it, so now it's up to 28. I think that's actually pretty darn good. Not just by my standards but by site standards. Yay me. Or actually, yay Zazzle!

Oh, and to get to the actual point of this post ;-) - the cards are pretty good quality, but I have to say that my initial impression was correct. They are not as good as moo.com postcards. They are smaller, for one thing - moo cards are standard postcard size, Zazzle cards are a little smaller. And the cardstock also isn't the same quality. I'm not sure about the weight, but it's definitely lighter. Ie, thinner paper. So, you get more variety, but less quality. I would still recommend them for the former. But I'll never give up moo. :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fuckin' democracy, how does it work

Yesterday's so-called election in the US showcases the fundamental problem with democracy: the fact that most people are idiots. But hey, who cares, they aren't voting anyway! 40% voter turnout, and that's supposed to be the greatest democracy on earth? Give me a fucking break.

I wonder what kind of campaign would have been run and how the general feeling would have been over there if Obama had been entirely white, and not just half. But of course that could never be more than a thought experiment.

In one way this is a good thing for the Democrats ... it will be extremely hard for the Republicans to pretend that events over the next two years are nothing to do with them (cause you know that everything that's gone wrong from 2000 till now is Clinton's fault; seriously, people believe that) and so when the next presidential election comes along the Democrat will have a head start and will probably make it by the skin of his teeth. Or hers. The US is in a dangerous downward spiral, they're heading for the edge, and if they can even be pulled out of this tailspin then that's a process that will take years. I don't understand what these so-called voters ... retarded dipshit idiots, whatever ... are thinking ... the Republicans have run the country into the ground, now it turns out that the Democrats don't have magic powers and there isn't a button to push that will make everything alright ... so now they want to put the Republicans back in power again. I perceive a hole in this logic.

I don't think the average American really has any idea how completely screwed they are. How deep the shit is that they are in fact in. I suspect that a lot of them really believe that there is some kind of quick fix that can pull them out of it. It's kind of sad. But on the other hand, they do in some ways deserve it. My sympathy is limited. But of course I shouldn't feel that way, I should feel empathy for the American people, they are the victims of a propaganda war and a dangerously shoddy school system. But, meh, they ruin it with all their bragging and dumbassery.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, since the Republicans are the ones who mostly created this mess, and since they clearly say that they want to carry on the policies that led to it, it doesn't seem very sensible to give them the chance to screw things up even further. But the irony is that the Democrats can't fix it either. I don't understand why people think that they can? Republicans, Democrats, it's the same thing. Why are they perceived as being so different that it's all but tearing a nation apart? They agree on literally everything that really matters. And they're both shit and neither of them will get the US out of the mess that it's in.

It's like ice cream, you know? People may perceive a difference, but there isn't really one. Do you want vanilla or do you want chocolate? In your head those two may be different, but to your body, nutrition-wise, it's the same worthless crap.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Må bare si dette ...

Selv om det er surmaget og slemt, jeg vet ... men jeg må bare si det.

Sitat fra bloggen til Trine Grung (svar til en fyr som var fan av henne da hun var på radio):
Emil -Poprush tiden var konge og en tid jeg aldri glemmer! Virkelig! Men ser ikke helt hva det har med denne debatten å gjøre? Jeg er nå den samme jeg selvom jeg ønsker at flere kan lese om Hilde sin reise. Den byr på debatt denne reisen hennes, og det visste jeg. Poenget er at det er flere og flere som tenker i hennes retning ... nå hører vi om den fra “innsiden”. Hennes ord som vi kan tolke som vi vil.

Min utheving.

OK, så det hun mener er at hun var steike dum den gangen også ... ?

Jeg sakset dette fra debatten under denne bloggposten. Les det, det er både underholdende og veldig nedslående.

Monday, November 1, 2010

'Smile or Die'

I just read Barbara Ehrenreich's book by that title. It's a great read, I love her. She writes about very important and serious issues, but she does it in a way that is so entertaining and so easy to read. It's like you hardly even realize you're learning things. ;-) Here's an illustrated version of parts of an interview she gave about the book and the issues it deals with.

Fullscreen here.