Sunday, February 28, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - February

Death of a Nobody by Georges Simenon (a Penguin 60)
American Eve by Paula Uruburu
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro - AUDIO
Dette blendende fravær av lys by Tahar ben Jelloun
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Talking with Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee
De profundis by Oscar Wilde
Seierherrene by Roy Jacobsen - AUDIO
Natt til fjerde november by Karin Fossum
De dødes tjern by Bernhard Borge - AUDIO
What Should I Do If Reverend Billy Is In My Store? by Bill Talen
The Way Through the Snow by Lian Hearn

9 printed books, 2,314 pages.
3 audiobooks, 37h 10m.

Favorite fiction:
I guess I have to say the Moroccan book - the English title is This Blinding Absence of Light. A heart-wrenching story, but also deeply moving and inspiring.

Favorite nonfiction:
American Eve. A fascinating portrait of New York ca 1900.

Favorite audio:
I'm tempted to say De dødes tjern, but I'm not sure if that can really count, since it was 'just' a reread. But there's no one title that really stands out this month.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

90% of all supernatural phenomena are due to rats. The remaining 10% can be explained via mice.
André Bjerke aka Bernhard Borge, De dødes tjern

Friday, February 26, 2010

Danish cowardice

Freedom of speech was struck a severe blow in Denmark today. One of the country's biggest newspapers, Politiken, has, as the result of a Faustian deal they have entered into with eight Muslim organizations, issued an apology for reprinting Kurt Westergaard's Mohammed cartoon (the one with the bomb in the turban). They ran the cartoon in 2008, as a protest against a planned terror attack against Denmark. Now they're apologizing ... not for printing the cartoon, and they're not saying they'll never print it again (yeah, right), but in true spineless idiot style they are apologizing for the fact that Muslims are feeling offended.

These people in those eight organizations must be really stupid. I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm sorry that you're such an idiot that you're letting it get to you. Who buys that shit?? o_O

But that's of course merely a minor point. I was very very sad to hear this news. (Although, I'm sure, nowhere near as sad as Westergaard must be. For once I agree with Vebjørn Selbekk ... they are stabbing the guy in the back. >:-(

I've heard some people say 'what's so wrong with apologizing' - well, how about because there's nothing to apologize for?? This brings up a question that I've never gotten a satisfactory answer to, namely, the following.

What can possibly be an acceptable reason that the rules and restrictions of a religion or any other set of beliefs should be binding upon those who do not adhere to said religion or belief? Riddle me that, Mr Wayne ... o_O

I've also heard people talking about 'respect' and how freedom of speech is all well and good, but at what price? and why is it wrong to 'show some respect'? The answer to the first is very simple - at any price. I wish people would get this through their heads. Our freedom of speech is the bedrock of Western society. Without it, we'd have nothing. No price can be too high. As for the other question, the answer should be obvious there too. It's wrong to 'show respect' towards these people - and by 'these people' I mean those Muslims, both here in Europe and back in the middle ages Middle East, who feel that religious beliefs (or at least their own) should be exempt from criticism, ie, freedom of speech - because to their deluded minds, showing respect means submission. They rant and rave about how offended they are -> we say we're sorry for making them feel offended -> they've won. Easy peasy. We must not submit!!

What we need to do instead is to make these people and all their supporters understand that having offended feelings is just a state of mind. You choose to feel offended. Muslims need to take control of their lives, take control of their own minds!! Unfortunately, far too many of them are mentally crippled by a lifetime of religious thralldom, and they're incapable of exercising that control. It's actually really sad. But as Ford Prefect said, Fuck 'em. You can't feel sorry for every little thing.

You're offended, I'm offended, bla bla, who cares. It doesn't matter whether it's offensive, it only matters whether it's true. I'm glad to see that other Danish newspapers are not on Politiken's side.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark ... but what else is new. >:-( Here's hoping it isn't too late. We'll all just have to keep watching to see who the next gang of thugs will be who will get their irrational way using threats of violence.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Arts & crafts

Remember my post last month about new year's resolutions? I said that I was going to do more crafts this year, and that I had already done pretty well with it ... infinitely better than last year, alas ... and in the comments I said that I would be posting some photos of the things I've made, 'soon'. Well, it's been less than a month, I'm sure under many circumstances that can be called soon.

OK, so, some photos ... with explanatory texts. :-) All of this stuff was made to be sent off in swaps I've been doing over at Swap-bot ... it's a site that's just dangerously addictive ;-) if you like to do crafty things and get mail. :-)

A mixed media portrait kind of thing of another swapper's pet cat.

A bookmark and a coaster, intended to kind of sort of match.

Some earrings.

Something fun I've discovered over at Swap-bot is an ... art form, or whatever ... that is perfect for me. I'm pretty impatient and only semi-talented, so inchies are the perfect art form for me. They can be any media, any material - the only rule is that they have to be four inch square. I've had fun making these recently. :-)

These were the first ones I ever made, I was pretty happy with them. The recipient seemed to like them a lot, that was a relief. :-) The theme was 'Under the Sea'.

Free theme, ie no theme ... just decorate them any way you care to. I'm really happy with the BookCrossing one, that was pretty clever. If I do say so myself. :-)

Theme 'Butterflies' ...

Some ideas just don't work in the inchie format, there just isn't room ... so it's a good thing you can also make twinchies, which are the same thing except two inch squares. :-) I've only made one set of these so far - free theme again, but I tried to make some that I thought the recipient would like. They haven't arrived yet, though, so I can't say. :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

London 2010: Around and about

Here are some glimpses from London last week. I'm making several videos, the others are more specific ... from our visits to the Dickens House Museum and to the National History Museum, for instance. This is just the random glimpses that don't fit anywhere else. :-) Still, might be fun to watch. There's, let me think ... the Hungerford bridge across the Thames, the bust of Nelson Mandela by the Southbank Centre, a bagpipe player on Trafalgar Square, wall decorations at Charing Cross station, some singers in Covent Garden ... This and that. :-) Enjoy. :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NORWAY 1995 - Nocturne

So, in 1985, we won the ESC ... our winner was the composer and musician Rolf Løvland. He really got into it, because he competed again in 1987, and then again in 1994. :-) He also was a part of the Norwegian team in -92 and -93, as conductor. This was back when they used real musicians. Oh, those wonderful days of yore. But anyway. He is really into the ESC, and he is also a very versatile guy when it comes to music ... his 1985 entry was one style, and when he competed again ten years later, that entry was in a completely different style. I mean, like you'd hardly think it was the same guy. o_O That year he added a little extra to his entry, though - he was on stage himself, performing the song with his ... band, I guess, Secret Garden. And, rather surprisingly, he won again. By the standard of the time a quite solid victory. Norwegians beside themselves again, ten years later!! :-D

The song stirred up some controversy, though - the Swedes in particular (and what a coincidence) were quite upset with us as they felt we were in violation of ESC rules which clearly state that entries cannot be instrumental, but must have lyrics. Which this song has ... although not a lot. Sweden lodged an official complaint against us, but got nowhere. Alas for our brothers across the keel. 25 words of lyrics are still lyrics, apparently.

This is Secret Garden performing Nocturne by Rolf Løvland and Petter Skavland. They competed at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland on May 13th, 1995 and won. And oh, how happy the Irish were to unload the damn thing onto us ... !! :-D



Lyrics with translation here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

News from Tarrytown

Which is the name of the town where Henry's Crime was shot. Isn't that an adorable name?? It sounds like someplace in the Shire. :-D Anyway, they're struggling financially because of the credit crunch, so it was a really good thing for them to have the movie people come in and spend money on coffee and what not. And Keanu is such an awesome guy cause when he went in the post office 'he actually stood in line'. OMG OMG OMG!!!1 That's what the article says - that he 'actually' stood in line. :-D

Anyway, here's the article. Those movie folks are so fantastic, they paid like parking fees and everything!! OMG!!1

I wish he would stop smoking. I normally defend his intelligence, but you've got to be pretty snowed in to take up smoking at age 3o.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
Abu al-Ala al-Ma'arri

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The night before

So, C. is here and we're more or less packed, kind of ... I'm bringing hardly anything so packing's real quick this time. :-) Since the ticket cost hardly anything and we're staying for free at Sol's place, if there's anything I discover that I desperately need, I can afford to just buy it. ;-)

Anyway ... we're watching a movie now that C.'s here anyway - because bad movies are more fun when you watch them with someone - and we kind of got inspired to watch it at BookCrossing meetup on Sunday. We got to talking about Twilight, and it turned out that while neither C. nor I had seen the movie, she actually had it on DVD. Her brother-in-law gave it to her for Christmas, but she hasn't gotten around to watching it ... or, in fact, removing the plastic wrapping on it. :-D So we decided to watch it together tonight. Well, now we're watching it, and I've gotta say, what a complete & utter piece of shit this movie is.

One thing I really hate in a movie is slow motion. Seriously, I can't stand it. For me, when I see slow motion in a movie scene, that's like the director is saying to me, I got nothing. It's like he's saying, I got nothing to say and nothing to show you, so I have no choice but to resort to these pathetic effects to pretend like there's something here. But usually there's nothing and the disguise doesn't work. This movie is such a total piece of crap that they started up with the slow-mo at 08:48. Seriously. I am so happy that I didn't pay to see this in a theater. I think I would have been tempted to walk out of there, cause this really is beyond worthless.

Teenagers are so stupid. Buffy, come back ... !!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'll be gone for a few days ...

... starting Wednesday morning, painfully bright and early. Actually, not bright - it'll still be dark for hours when I have to leave on Wednesday. Argh. But it'll be worth it ... it'll be so worth it ... !! :-D

Because, guess what, I'm going to London! Yay! Actually, not that much yay ... London really isn't my favorite city. At all. Not even favorite in the UK, nowhere near. I don't know why exactly, it's just too big, there's too much of it. It's exhausting just being there. :-) But this time there's something there I want to see ... namely the theatrical production of Pterry's Nation, at the National Theatre. It's C. and I who are going there to see it, because we're both major Pterry fans and ... it'll be fun. Plus of course there's someone in London that I want to see - we'll be staying with my friend Sol and of course it'll be great to see her again too. :-) And you, Crispin, of course ... !! :-D

So ... from Wednesday through Saturday I probably won't get online much. A quote may pop up on Saturday, I suppose. Something clever not said by me. ;-) But apart from that, probably not much. Here's hoping I'll have some good shots to post on Sunday, though ... !! :-)

And just to keep somewhat on topic: Keanu's been in London too, look ... I'm almost willing to bet I'll get to see more of the city than he did that time. (The Lake House premiere weekend.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Year of the Tiger ...

... for however long it'll last, anyway. :-(

Today is Chinese New Year, and the Chinese are celebrating the beginning of their Year of the Tiger. But in the People's Republic, the number of tigers alive in the wild have dwindled to only a few dozen - there may be less than thirty. They live in isolated pockets of territory and breed very little, if at all. Of course there are efforts being made to breed them in captivity ... but of course this is not a real solution to the problem.

It's sad to think of this magnificent animal slowly dying. Of the nine modern species of tigers, three are already extinct. The Siberian tiger, which is the species that lives in China, is teetering on the brink of extinction. There are two reasons for this. The first is the source of basically all the problems in the world today (and I'm not even exaggerating) - overpopulation. There are too many humans. Unlike pretty much every other species on this planet, we, the most advanced species of them all, are unable to accomplish the basic feat of controlling our own population, which means that we are slowly but surely killing off everything else. Humans suck. The second reason is woo. Chinese culture is full of shit and superstition about crap that doesn't work, never has and never will. Eat a powdered tiger's penis and you'll be like a tiger in the bedroom. What an obvious line of BS. Again, humans suck.

Happy Year of the Tiger. Here's a look at what we're killing off. :-(

I made this video during my 2009 visit to the Nordic Ark. The two tigers you see are Uri - he's the one on the roof; he was born in captivity - and Sparta, who was born in the wild, but taken into captivity when her mother was killed in an accident (caused by humans, of course) when she was a young cub. You can read some more about them here. Aw, they're so gorgeous. I hate humans. >:-(



And here's another video - this one not made by me, unfortunately - of Sparta interacting with another visitor to the Ark. You've got to take a look at this. What an animal. :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

People will then often say, "But surely it's better to remain an Agnostic just in case?" This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I've been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.)
Douglas Adams

Friday, February 12, 2010

NORWAY 2010 - My Heart Is Yours

OK, so, here's the guy who finally convinced me to leave the performers' names out of the titles of these posts: Didrik Solli-Tangen. With that name, he hardly seems destined for an international career. ;-) But then again, he does want to be an opera singer, and they usually do have weird unwieldy names, so who knows. :-D

Anyway. This is the Norwegian entry for this year's ESC. I've written so much about it already that I don't suppose I have to say much here. :-) This is a song that had deserved a better singer ... he has a lot of potential, but he also has a lot of nerves. If only this guy could, ahem, meet with a little accident between now and May, and we could get Rein Alexander to sing it instead ... wow, then we'd be talking. But this is what we've got to work with. The song is good, it's a kind of song I like a lot, so theoretically it may do well. The UK did well with a very similar song last year, they came fifth, so there's a chance for this song too. But the fact that our song will only be heard once this year is a handicap - this is a song that grows on people, it takes some time to appreciate it, so we could really have used an appearance in the semi too. But of course, there's the question of whether we would have even gotten through from the semi ...

I've said it before, but we need to brace ourselves, because this really is a potential nil-pointer. I know most of my fellow countrymen won't believe that - we tend to be pretty unrealistic about our ESC chances ;-) - but depending on the competition and the expectations of the audience, we could really bomb this year. Oh well ... as long as we don't win again, I guess that's all that really matters. ;-)

This is Didrik Solli-Tangen performing My Heart Is Yours by Hanne Sørvaag and Fredrik Kempe. They will be competing in Oslo, or rather just outside of Oslo, on Saturday, May 29th. They will not be competing in the semi-finals, because we won last year and as host nation we have an automatic place in the final. Good luck to us - we'll need it. >:-)



Lyrics here.

Oh, and yeah - I think those violins are embarrassing too. ;-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A petty annoyance

Here's something that's really annoying me at work these days. It is a petty annoyance that is still seriously driving me up the wall. I work with, among others, a young guy, he just turned 22. IMO he's not very mature for his age. There are several reasons why I think that, but I won't go into all of that here. There's just one thing that's driving me crazy at the moment and I feel like I just have to tell someone how annoying it is or ... just grab the kid by the scruff of his neck and scream in his face ... and that sort of thing doesn't foster a positive work environment, does it.

This time of year people have all sorts of colds and sniffles, that's normal. Can't be helped. It's standard procedure in winter time. What isn't standard procedure is that someone who's above kindergarten age never blows his nose. Arrgh ... !!! OK, 'never' is taking it too far, I have heard him do it one whole time this year. But as close to never as makes no mind. He's had this sniffle for weeks now, and he seriously never blows his nose. He just ... well, you know what he does, it's disgusting, I don't want to describe it. But the sound of it, which I hear again and again time after time every hour of every working day, is SO INCREDIBLY ANNOYING that it seriously is driving me up the wall. WTF is his problem?? How can he keep doing this and how is it possible that he doesn't get how annoying it is??? ARGH!!

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Whew. I wish I could say I feel better for saying it, but my brief moment of relief is, sadly, spoiled by what I know I'll be hearing first thing tomorrow morning. Argh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hurt feelings?? STFU!!

Religion really does cripple the human mind. Studies tend to show that theists have lower IQs than atheists, and I readily believe it ... because what is IQ really, if not the ability to solve problems one is presented with using one's powers of reasoning? And those powers are exactly what religion most suppresses.

This is being shown now in a planned protest rally, or so they're calling it, here in Oslo ... the second one, in fact. A bunch of cab drivers - hundreds of them, apparently - are going to park their cabs somewhere downtown and just stand there for hours in order to show how upset they are by Dagbladet (which has printed something worthwhile for once) running the drawing below on their front page last week.

Click to enlarge if you can't see what it is. It's the 'prophet' Muhammed in the guise of a pig, writing the Q'uran. It's pretty old apparently, but who cares about that.

All of these drivers are Muslims, of course, and they are so offended, blecch. I saw one of the cabs on the news, it had a poster in the back window saying something about 'respect'. Yes. We should respect their collective delusion, but they don't need to respect our freedom of speech, is that it? Yes, that's exactly what it is, because what they want is for Dagbladet to apologize for printing the drawing. How fucked up is that??!

First of all, I don't see where they get off staging this protest in the first place. This is a totally personal matter, it has nothing to do with their work or their employer or anything. Yet they're going to be spending how many hours of their working day (or night) just sitting on their asses doing nothing?? They should be fired IMO. Which would have been a good thing too, there are too many cabs in Oslo, this would have been a great way to weed out some of the less suitable drivers. If I had been running the company where these people work, I wouldn't have put up with it. Not once and certainly not twice. And what do you want to bet that ethnic Norwegians would not have been allowed to get away with it ... ? >:-(

But the fundamental problem here is that these people are a part of our society, yet their mindset is so at odds with the way our society works and the values it's built on. These are the kind of people who talk about 'abuse of the freedom of speech'. Sheesh. While immigrants do bring valuable contributions to our society, they also create quite a few problems (particularly some of them), and IMO those problems cannot be solved until both they and we genuinely understand that it is impossible to abuse the freedom of speech. That is what makes it freedom of speech.

Newspapers don't apologize for what they print. I mean, hello. Unless you can pinpoint specific unfounded libelous slanders of specific named living individuals, they do not and must not and shall not apologize for anything they print. When people start demanding that they do so, I really have to wonder what kind of society they want to be living in. Apparently not this one. >:-(

If you don't like our society, what are you doing living in it? You can't change the fundamentals of it without also changing it as a whole ... and if you think Iran or Saudi Arabia or whatever is so much better than here, then why aren't you living there? It'd be so much easier, they already suppress the media and give free rein to religion. Plus, in Saudi you could get some slaves to drive your cabs for you, since you're apparently too lazy to do it yourselves.

Yes, I do know that there are lots of Muslims who don't agree with this, who don't join any protest rallies, blah blah. But where are they?? These 'moderate' Muslims, where the hell are they? Why don't they ever write letters to the editor or organize marches to state their views loud and clear? I actually kind of understand the crazies who don't believe in the existence of such a thing as moderate Muslims, because if they existed and were such a majority as it's claimed, you'd think we'd hear from them more often. o_O

The problem is that these moderate Muslims may agree with the protesters to some extent, just not enough to join or start a protest. And that actually is a real problem too. There was a woman on the news tonight, I think she must be an ethnic Norwegian convert to Islam (ie a person I automatically have zero respect for), and she was one of these. Her feelings were hurt when she saw this drawing, but apparently it wasn't a big enough deal for her to do anything about it. WTF is that about? Hurt feelings?! That's something that always comes up in these discussions, from the Muslim side. That freedom of speech is all well and good, but why print these things when we know they hurt people's feelings? Oh, boo-hoo, sob!! Why? I'll tell you why - because your hurt feelings are irrelevant. My hurt feelings are irrelevant. This is a free society in which all members are of equal value and have the same rights. Therefore, the feelings of all members are equally important, from which it follows that none of our feelings should be considered in matters of principle and in matters of law.

If you're religious and I'm not, it doesn't matter - neither of us have the right to not have our feelings hurt. The fact that your delusions make your feelings so much more sensitive than mine is neither here nor there.

STFU and get back to work!!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My calendar wall, January 2010

A little late, but there you go. :-) Got a pretty good setup going this year, if I do say so myself.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I has a ticket ... !!!

Yes ... !!!!

The tickets - you know which ones I mean ;-) - went on sale this morning and fortunately it was a slow day at work, so I was able to use some time on some private phone calls ;-) and yay! get hold of the tickets I wanted. Would you believe that we're not going to see the final?? It's true, we're not. Partly the tickets were ridiculously expensive - 1,600 crowns!! - and partly, if we were to go, we'd miss our traditional ESC party, which we all love ... and it's going to be extra special this year, because we're going to be at KAS and trilltrall's new place, which of course will be brilliant! ;-) So we decided that we don't want to spend that much money on missing our party, and came up with an alternate plan - we're going to see the second dress rehearsal, on the Friday night. Tickets are 600 crowns each and the performance will be identical to the final, except for the voting. This is the dress rehearsal that they videotape and use as backup in case something goes wrong on Saturday night. So ... we'll get to see the show, and we'll get to have our party and make fun of all the contestants too. :-) We'll have our cake and eat it too. :-)

I got the tickets, anyway, so we're all set. Squee!! :-D A lot of others got their tickets too. People have been bitching about the tickets being too expensive, but the final sold out in 20 minutes. So ... it's like I've said before, we have it way too good here. :-)

Now if only I could get tickets to Pippa Lee, I'd be laughing! But it looks like that movie's going straight to video here. Unbelievable. Growl.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Raphael blinking

Raphael has been super active today, climbing in and out of his pond and running around all over the place. Also getting in my way slightly. He's like a cat in that he likes to climb on and stand on whatever book or newspaper I'm trying to read just then. Herman does the same thing. It's like they can tell what my attention is directed at and then they try to get in between me and it. :-D Raphael was so sweet today that he willingly lay in my lap for a while ... even though he was wide awake. Aww. Here he is blinking his pretty green eye, in extreme closeup. :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

ESC 2010: Norway, final

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle.
Liberace

An appropriate quote to open this post, since NRK opened the show with Alexander Rybak playing the piano ... !! :-D And then a short version of Fairytale. Ooh, and our little hobbit made us all laugh - he introduced the hosts, the very lovely Marte Stokstad, and Per Sundnes. :-D

I'm watching the show with KAS, trilltrall and Anne Ida ... us girls are all dressed in black to show our support for Keep of Kalessin, but trilltrall is refusing to change his outfit, because he's voting for Didrik. :-) Sheesh, boys ... !! ;-)

Tonight there'll be two rounds, first all eight entries we'll vote on, then half of them will get through to a second round, and the winner of that round ... will be our winner. :-)

*****

Entry #1 - Don't Want to Lose You Again, performed by A1. I wish there was an ... anti-vote function ... something so you could send a minus vote for an entry. If that was possible, I would have done that ten times for this song. Blech. My worst nightmare this year is that we end up with A1 representing us - us = Norway - in the final, and then they actually win. They're a British band!! Fuck that shit. They're also making a scary promise - in their video intro they said that if they win tonight, all their fans across Europe will assure another victory for Norway. But that's exactly what we don't want!! So, fingers crossed we won't be seeing this again. They didn't get as big a cheer as I expected in their interview after the performance, so that's something, anyway. Fingers crossed ... !

Entry #2 - Make My Day, performed by Maria Haukaas Storeng. OK, at least a much better outfit than in the quarter-final, where she looked seriously weird in a black pantsuit. She's a very good singer, so even if the song isn't the best in the lineup tonight, she can certainly hold her own. A quality entry, but not the winner.

Entry #3 - Jealous Cause I Love You, performed by Venke Knutsson. Same outfit as last time, I think? Song still catchy, her voice still a bit weak, but a fun entry. A song I like more and more every time I hear it ... unlike the A1 song, which I like less and less every time. Also not the winner, but a fun song.

Entry #4 - Yes Man, performed by Bjørn Johan Muri. Another song that is doing the opposite of growing on me. A relatively boring song with stupid lyrics ... and his performance is so boring, it just loses more energy every time. For some mysterious reason this song has become a huge hit - it's getting constant radio play and is #1 on iTunes. o_O Must be all the tweenies swooning over the guy ... because the song is really nothing special. But the hype is really focusing on it, it's supposed to be a potential winner. Sheesh. But I would much rather see this guy on stage in Telenor Arena than A1, because Muri is at least Norwegian ... ! >:-(

Entry #5 - The Touch, performed by Maria Arredondo. I like this song a lot, but I really don't want us to send it. Because, seriously, although I don't see this song as an international winner, considering who wrote it ... brr. I haz a fear. It kind of deserves to be in the second round tonight, but I don't want it there anyway. Call me superstitious ... :-)

Entry #6 - Give It To Me, performed by Alexander Stenerud. Oh, I hope he gets through. He so deserves it. Third time's the charm?? Nah ... but it's a good song, a fun entry, and I love his attitude and the fact that he's written all three entries himself. :-) This show wouldn't be the same without Stenerud! :-)

Entry #7 - My Heart Is Yours, performed by Didrik Solli-Tangen. Also a singer with a big following since he competed in the third quarter-final. The song is really good, it's exactly my type of song and I'd love to see it as our entry ... with a different singer. He just isn't good enough IMO. But I don't think that'll be important to most of the people who will vote for him ... ;-)

Entry #8 - The Dragontower, performed by Keep of Kalessin. Yayyayyay ... !!! :-D Very good for them that they're in the last slot. And likewise bad for A1 that they went on first. Hmm, coincidence? ;-) Thank you, anyway, NRK. A good performance, the guys are total pros. Oh, I hope they'll be the winners ... !!! IhopeIhopeIhope ... !! :-)

*****

Who'll get through to the second round? My guess Venke Knutsson, Maria Arredondo, Bjørn Johan Muri and Keep of Kalessin? Or Stenerud instead of Knutsson? I don't want her to get through - Knutsson I mean - but we're thinking that it's the kind of song that will appeal to a lot of viewers ... but the question is, will those viewers vote? I'm thinking people like my father ... who probably won't vote. ;-) I've voted once for Stenerud and five times for KoK, so I’ve done my duty. Fingers crossed ... !! There are more songs I want in the second round than there are places ... !! o_O

*****

And now we'll see, for a second round ... called in random order:
#1 - Bjørn Johan Muri. No surprise there, but what a boring song it is. We'll do badly in May with this one. Sheesh. Damn teenyboppers!!
# 2 - Didrik Solli-Tangen. OK, and no big surprise either, but again, he's not good enough. He sings so much better the second time, he did that in the quarter-final - but that's not good enough, because we'll only have one chance this year! Sheesh. But OK, I like the song. It's looking grimmer for Stenerud though ...
#3 - Keep of Kalessin!!! Yes! Yes yes yes!!! YES!!! :-D Wild cheering in the couch. :-D
#4 - A1. Nooooo ... !!! Damn it!! Evils!!!

OK, so, now there's a fifty percent chance that we'll be sending a piece of shit. Oh, nervousness!! KAS is saying that this is too much excitement for her nerves, she needs a paper bag. We're falling apart, this isn't good for us ... !!

I've voted so many times for KoK now that I've lost count. Twelve? Oh, my poor nerves ... !!

*****

But now, the intermission entertainment. Which is guaranteed to be brilliant. Ingrid Bjørnov is some kind of genius.

Anita Skorgan is probably watching this. I wonder what she's thinking? :-D

Ooh, the voting's closed!! My nerves ... !! :-o

This intermission performance is a total masterpiece. Ingrid really is some kind of genius. Fantastic, brilliant. For those not in the know: This year is the perfect year for us to host the contest, because it's the 50th anniversary of our participation. We've been competing in the ESC not for fifty years, but since 1960. So this year's intermission entertainment is a kind of cavalcade over lots of our ESC entries over the years. There's been a lot of fun songs. A varied list. Let's put it like that. :-)

*****

And now - the regional juries vote!! Oh, the excitement!!

The regional juries, one from each of the quarter- and semi-final host cities, have 20,000 votes each to distribute in amounts of 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 and 8,000.

The Ørland jury give ... 2,000 to A1 and 8,000 to Keep of Kalessin. Yes!!
The Bodø jury ... the same. Wo-hoo!!
The Skien jury - their 8,000 go to Didrik Solli-Tangen, but he's from there, so that's only to be expected.
The Sarpsborg - 8,000 to Keep of Kalessin, 2,000 to A1. Yees ... !!

And now the televote. Anxiety and dread!!

The televote is divided up into five sections to correspond with the different parts of the country.

Northern Norway - their votes put My Heart Is Yours first and The Dragontower second. Well, OK. I want KoK to win, but I can live with prettyboy Didrik too. Just not A1 ... !!
West Norway - oh, shit!! Verdammt, to quote KAS. They put Didrik solidly in the lead, now he's got more than double the points that KoK have. Noo ... !!
Central Norway - they should get lots of votes from here, cause they're from Trøndelag. But no, they only came third here. Damnit!! >:-(

It looks like we're looking at a showtune not very well performed in Telenor Arena ... :-(

Southern Norway - they don't like KoK much and they love Didrik. I think this is done now. He's so solidly in the lead. But the East Country is the deciding factor ... !! We have more people than anyone and thus more votes. Oh, my nerves!!
Eastern Norway - Yes Man at the bottom. The Dragontower third. Damnit!! We have no taste! But A1 only comes in second, so yeah, the showtune has won. DAMNIT!!!

*****

Sheesh. OK, I am happy with this, because A1 didn't win. Anything's better than them. ;-) But we should all brace ourselves now, because this song - My Heart Is Yours, I mean - is a potential nil-pointer. I mean, it's not a bad song. But his performance is probably not going to be very good. It gets better every time he does it in a night, but in May he's only going to get to do it once in front of an audience. So ... he probably won't be impressing the viewers. And the song itself, while it's good - personally I like it a lot - may well drown in the sea of other songs that'll be washing over Europe that week. :-) The UK did well last year with a similar kind of entry, so we may do well, I'm not saying we won't. But it definitely has the potential for a spectacular crash and burn.

Anne Ida says that that'll just be fun, though. Nil points in home court!! :-D

But at least I'll be getting one of my wishes: There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that we'll win this thing. ;-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Use your vote, people!!!

So, tomorrow's the big day. :-) The big finale ... at least in this country. Oh, and in Denmark and Iceland too. Poor Icelanders. :-) Anyway.

Here in Norway we have to be really careful about what we pick this year. We want to send a song that will do well, but not too well. Know what I mean? We won last year, and now we're proud & happy to be able to welcome Europe to our *cough* lovely capital *cough*, yada yada. I always hope we'll send something that at least means we won't totally embarrass ourselves ... I don't always get this wish, but this year, I hope we'll be able to do reasonably well. I mean, totally failing in the ESC isn't really a big deal, we're so used to it, but just this year, since we're hosting it and all, I really hope we'll send something that will do pretty well - top ten - and won't make us the laughing stock of Europe. :-) However.

Our entry should be pretty good, but it mustn't be too good. Because while winning once is a huge thrill, winning twice in a row is a curse. Just ask the Irish. ;-) So whatever we do, we have to avoid winning. It shouldn't be too hard, considering our track record. But it would be so typically us to mess it up and do too well just when we shouldn't. Fingers crossed!

Use your vote and use it sensibly - or, in other words, Keep of Kalessin ftw!!! They are so totally the obvious choice for us this year. Granted, it's not my type of music. I don't like the song (although I have heard much worse in this genre ;-). But it's exactly the right song for Oslo 2010. The guys are total pros and will give a good performance, they're unusual in an ESC context, so they'll stand out, young people will like them and, most important, black metal is the music genre that Norway is most known for. So what could be better than showing off just that?? At the same time, the appeal of a song like theirs isn't broad enough to do, ahem, too well.

In short, they are so totally the ones we should send. If you're in Norway, you're watching tomorrow and you have no clear favorite, do me a big favor and send a vote for Keep of Kalessin. It'll only cost you five crowns, so come on. :-) Even if you do have a favorite, and it's not KoK, please reconsider!! They should win! For all our sakes! And for nothing else, because it'll be such a treat to see these black-clad metal tough guys jump around like schoolgirls if they win ... !! :-D

Ooh, and don't forget: The tickets go on sale on Monday ... !!! ;-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FINLAND 2010: Kuunkuiskaajat - Työlki ellää

Do you know what a great musician is? I guess that definition is different for everyone. Ingrid Bjørnov has a great definition of it, though: A great musician is a person who can play the accordion, but who refrains from doing so.

Anyway ...

Initial thoughts: Kudos for singing in Finnish, but I'm sure that by the time they get to Oslo, they will be working with lyrics in English. Growl, etc. But yeah, anyway ...

This entry is really hilarious, because it's basically a Finnish girly version of Fairytale. :-D I mean, seriously. V. funny. A folk music-inspired song, upbeat & catchy, an unusual instrument being played ... I thought it was good and might stand a reasonable chance, but then they brought out the violin ... !! :-D Seriously, I don't know what they're thinking. A violin entry won last year, so, alas, that drastically lowers the chances for any violin entry this year. That's just one of the ways the ESC works. :-)

But it's a good song though. Well performed, with good energy and plenty of enthusiasm. Pretty good voices, nice music, a pretty catchy song. Finland may do relatively well this year ... even though they killed their own chances for the big one. But an entry they can be proud of.

Whatever Ingrid may say, I think it'll be great to see an accordion on stage in Telenor Arena. ;-)

This is Kuunkuiskaajat performing Työlki ellää by Timo Kiiskinen, Susan Aho, Johanna Virtanen, Tom Nyman and Jetro Vaini, who will be competing for Finland in Telenor Arena on either May 25th or 27th, and, if they're lucky, on the 29th.



Lyrics with translation here. Be warned, it's pretty darn silly ... :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I call sexism ...

... on those who call discrimination on the proposed ban on burkas in this country.

Just to be clear: When I say a proposed ban, the context is that a politician has gone public with her opinion that there should be a ban. So that first sentence isn't really correct. It just sounded really good. ;-) But this woman wants to open the debate and I totally agree about that. My opinion is as follows.

I don't think this ridiculous and oppressive item of clothing should be banned in itself. Yeah, sure, women suffer these indignities and that's real sad and all, but most of them are religious nutcases themselves, so my sympathy is limited. It's the same reason why it's a wasted effort to try liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban. Anyway.

I don't think either the burka or the niqab should be banned. Here in Norway, it's really the latter we should be talking about, because nobody really wears burkas here. But the niqab is a reality. It should not be banned in society in general. It should be banned in schools and universities, though. Of course, any employer must be allowed to deny employees the right to wear it. And also, it should be illegal for any woman wearing a niqab to enter a bank. Any woman wearing a niqab who attempts to enter a bank should be arrested immediately.

If this doesn't become law, it's gender discrimination, and that's illegal in this country.

What, are you laughing?? STFU, I'm totally right. If a man wearing a ski mask goes into a bank, what do you think happens then?? So why should a woman get away with it? Religious discrimination my ass.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Carmen Maura singing

Youtube is a wonderful place.

The other day I suddenly got to thinking about something I hadn't thought about since forever ... the scene in La ley del deseo where Carmen Maura, in the role as the main character's transsexual sister, enters her former church to show her daughter where she was an altar boy as a child, and is so moved by being back there that she breaks into song. That little snatch of song that she sings is just so beautiful, and I have the movie somewhere; I used to play that scene again and again. But I haven't even thought about it since I don't know when. I haven't seen the movie for years. But suddenly I remembered that scene.



Doesn't she sing beautifully? Her voice is so expressive. She actually started out as a singer and not an actress. I love this scene.

Youtube is a wonderful place. :-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

A good example ...

... of something that would probably be really cheesy if the lyrics had been in a language I could understand properly. But since I don't understand it, I can just look at the pretty pictures and let it all wash over me. ;-)