Friday, April 30, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - April

Regnbogane by Olav H Hauge
Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land by Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Slaves and Obsession by Anne Perry – AUDIO
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale
Jenta som lekte med ilden by Stieg Larsson – AUDIO
Babettes gjestebud by Karen Blixen (Gyldendals lille bibliotek)
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
Reven var alt dengang jeger by Herta Müller
Kong Leopolds arv by Adam Hochschild
Luftslottet som sprengtes by Stieg Larsson – AUDIO
Åpent sinn eller høl i hue? by Dyrendal/Pettersen/Søderlind, eds.
Appelsinpigen by Jostein Gaarder
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Tapte døtre by Xinran
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Monster by Knut Nærum - AUDIO
Släpp inte taget by Harlan Coben – AUDIO

12 printed books, 2,836 pages.
5 audiobooks, 76h 30m.

Favorite fiction:
Meh. I've read several books this month that were good, in fact I haven't read any that were bad. But at the same time none of them really stood out. It's hard to choose one this month, I don't feel like I really have a favorite among these books. Maybe Babette's Feast, because that one I really really liked. :-) I guess I have to say The Monk. It was a good read, but also a pretty difficult one ... the plot goes off in so many directions and the language is so old-fashioned. Understandable, but still. :-)

Favorite nonfiction:
Now in this category I have the opposite problem ... !! :-D I've read so much wonderful nonfiction this month. I can hardly choose just one of them. The Xinran book was fantastic, especially since I'd just heard her speak about it here in Oslo a few days before reading it. But since I do have to pick just one, I think I have to say King Leopold's Ghost. A harrowing read, but just amazing. An absolute must read.

Favorite audio:
The Girl Who Played With Fire ... ? Same as last month, a reread, but it is such a good read and the audiobooks I've read this month that have been new haven't been all that. Except maybe Monster ... ? I guess Stieg Larsson wins again. :-)

Please note that I've read a book of poetry this month. Out of the box, hell yeah!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I love The Daily Show!

I watch the show religiously and I think it's one of the best things on TV. If you don't watch it, and you want to know why it's so good, then just watch this.

South Park Death Threats
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Yeah, gotta love it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SWEDEN 2010 - This Is My Life

OK, this is really immature, but I just have to say that the title of this song, before I'd ever heard it - heard the song, I mean :-) - prejudiced me against it. Well, I've said so before, I'm just bubbling with prejudice, you know it. But I just think that This Is My Life as a song title is so ... totally cheesy. I don't know. It's not in the song's favor, as far as I'm concerned. I wonder if there is anyone else out there like me.

The lyrics back up my negative first impression - This is my life, and I can't be no one else, sheesh - and I also don't like the choreography where they have her first with the guitar, like she's going to accompany herself and she's a musician, ooh, but then it turns out it's just a gimmick. I don't like that. But other than that, well ...

I mean, apart from the fact that this is so weirdly similar to another Swedish song a couple of years ago ... 2007, was it? ... when another young woman performed with a guitar. Marie something ... Marie Lindberg. The song was called Trying to Recall, she was a total unknown, a schoolteacher (it was Once in a Lifetime come to life!!), and although she didn't win the national finals she got pretty far, and everyone just swooned over her. Although not enough to vote her to the top, that was the year that The stupid fucking Ark won. Blargh. Although they shouldn't have sent either of these songs, but that's another blog post. Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, they could have gotten something quite like this song three years ago, but didn't. Now, this year, I don't know. It's a good song, a good melody, but it doesn't really stick in the mind. It's really nice to listen to, but when it's done, it's gone. I like her voice, it's a little unusual, it may help the song be remembered. But I don't think it's enough. A spot in the final, yes, maybe, but no more than that either.

Anyway. This is Anna Bergendahl performing This Is My Life by Bobby Ljunggren and Kristian Lagerström. They will be competing for Sweden on Thursday, May 27th.

Lyrics here.

Speaking of Sweden, here's one of my pet peeves when it comes to these lovely people and their mostly very beautiful language. ('Mostly' because although I love Swedish and think it's wonderful to listen to, I make an exception for Scanian, for obvious reasons.) Sweden is a major influence on Norway, even though we may not like to admit it ... we watch their movies, we listen to their music, we watch their TV channels and we follow the trends they were into x seasons ago. No problems there. And we feel we have a good understanding of their language. This is where the problems arise.

See, these two languages, Norwegian and Swedish, are so similar that you only need to speak one to be able to understand both. (At least if you're Norwegian. ;-) This has the unfortunate side effect of making a lot of Norwegians think that Swedish can just be translated straight off, and it'll all mean the same. Which may sound right, but actually is wrong.

And here's my pet peeve. The Swedes have an expression that's popping up more and more in Norway as well, and it's so annoying, because in this country it just doesn't mean what those who use it think it means. Att ta fram. Which in Swedish means to develop, as in research & development. So, Vi har tagit fram dessa fantastiska nya produkter! in Swedish means that We have developed these fantastic new products. Ie, come check it out and applaud all our hard work. But in Norwegian you just can't say it like that ... and yet, people do. Vi har tatt fram noen fantastiske nye produkter - no!! No no no! In Norwegian, that just means that we've basically brought these things out of a drawer or a box or something. It just so doesn't mean what people think it means ... !! Argh.

Can you tell that I went to a product presentation with one of our biggest clothes suppliers last night ... ? ;-)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dramatic cloudscape

I've been out all day today, I just got home less than an hour ago, and I'm soo tired ... so no long post today, just a photo I want to share. :-)

This is a cloud photo that I'm really happy with. Taken in Bærum at the beginning of March.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An expected surprise

I went downtown after work today, to do a teeny tiny bit of shopping and to visit the library. I had some books to return and some to pick up. I took the bus home ... or at least halfway home, I got the 37 bus to Helsfyr from the stop down the street from the main library. I don't usually read on the bus, I prefer to look out at the scenery. :-) This afternoon I noticed all these police cars lined up along a street downtown ... and then a little further out there were more cars, one of them marked up as squad leader ... I sat on the bus thinking how weird it was that there were so many police cars altogether, and not the normal ones either, but the bigger, numbered ones. It seriously took me like two or three minutes to figure it out. Maybe the police are out and about so much because Dmitri Medvedev is in town? You think?? :-D

In other news, the brilliant Stephen Hawking warns us off any attempt to contact intelligent extraterrestrial life. The results may not be pretty. I think he's probably right ... I love what he said about how all we need to do is look in the mirror to see how intelligent life can evolve into something we wouldn't like to meet. :-D I do believe there is most likely other intelligent life forms out there - considering the size of the universe, it seems statistically improbable that there isn't - but I'm pretty sure I could live the rest of my life quite happily without meeting any of them.

Although of course if they looked anything like this ... ? ;-)

Whatever their physical appearance, I'm sure we can all agree that the strongest possible evidence we have that there are indeed intelligent life forms out there is that none of them have ever tried to make contact with us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

UK 2010 - That Sounds Good to Me

Well, this was bound to happen. The Brits have been floundering in the ESC for years - no wonder since the contest has such a tiny fanbase there, relatively speaking - but last year they hit upon one solution. Get an already very established composer to write the song, then find some unknown kid to perform it (cheaper that way). This actually worked really well for them last year, they ended up placing 5th, which for the UK these days is an amazing result. So this year - different songwriters, but same formula. And like I said, this was bound to happen - Stock Aitken Waterman in the ESC ... !! :-D

Well, almost, anyway. Matt Aitken's not really a bigwig in the music business these days anymore. But Mike Stock and Pete Waterman are the brains ... if that's the word I want ... behind this year's UK entry. Which is ... hmm ...

It's totally SAW, I've got to say that. The kind of thing you might peg as theirs even if you didn't know it. But is that a good thing? I'm really not sure. This song isn't bad, as such, it's just ... it's boring. I'm not sure how they think this song will stand out? It's a totally standard pop song, quality craftsmanship, but there's nothing that makes it shine in a crowd. And this will definitely be a crowd. I'm not at all convinced that this will be noticed much by anyone. Maybe those in my generation who remember the 80s ;-) because this song definitely feels dated. Even the performance. Those girls have got to lose those T-shirts. Ick.

Well, judge for yourselves. This is Josh Dubovie performing That Sounds Good to Me by Mike Stock and Pete Waterman, who will be competing for the United Kingdom on Saturday, May 29th. The UK is also in the Big Four and thus go straight to the final. That will definitely be to the disadvantage of this song.

Lyrics here.

In related news, the Brits - as I'm sure you know, my well-informed readers!! - have an election coming up. Pat Condell made a video about it, here. I love Pat Condell.

SPAIN 2010 - Algo pequeñito

Oh, how I wish I could say that I don't like this song. Why? Scroll down, or just keep reading ...

I wish I could say that, but I can't. I dig this song. I love the melody, I love the whole style of it. The singer's voice isn't very good, but he makes up for that with a lot of charm, alas. Major kudos for singing in Spanish, I like that a lot. This is a great song ... I'm sad to say it's better than what I generally expect from Spain, these days. I hope they'll do well ... I think. Maybe not, right now. >:-(

This is an entry that may look like more fun than it really is, because of all the people on stage, happily dancing in the background and what not. In the final, the rules allow only six people on stage per entry. So this will have to be changed. I hope they will change the costumes too ... if they keep the circus type backing performers, then the singer should be dressed like a circus director, I think. :-D

A fun and charming entry, though, regardless. Damnit.

This is Daniel Diges performing Algo pequeñito by Jesús Cañadilla, who will be competing for Spain on Saturday, May 29th. Spain is one of the Big Four - ie one of the four biggest contributors to the EBU coffers - and one of the things this buys them is a guaranteed place in the ESC finals. Not necessarily a good thing, but, well, it is what it is.

Lyrics here.

The reason I picked the Spanish entry for this post was to use the occasion to draw your attention to this great news from Mexico yesterday. One of Spain's biggest bullfighting stars got a little too close to his victim and was brutally gored in the groin. Wahey!! There is some justice in the world after all. >:-) The bull's horn penetrated both a vein and an artery and the guy's now unconscious in hospital in critical condition. Whee. I love happy news stories like this.

I've got to say this for Spain. There aren't a lot of nations in the world that are so emotionally stunted that cruelty to animals is their national sport. I just hate that argument that OK, bullfighting isn't very nice, but it's their culture, so we shouldn't say anything against it. WTF? Female genital mutilation is part of the culture too in a number of countries, does that mean we shouldn't say anything against that? Or do we only care about suffering when it's members of our own species who are in pain? >:-(

Of course that leads into another argument the apologists like to use - that the bulls destined for the arena lead much better lives than those cattle that are raised for food. But, first of all, the fact that the latter group often suffer tremendously is no reason to make the former suffer as well. We should fight against both forms of abuse, equally. Second, raising cattle for beef at least serves a useful purpose. We need to eat. Raising bulls for the arena serves no purpose except to create vicarious thrills for a group of bloodthirsty degenerates.

But third, and this is perhaps the worst part ... the apologists seem to think that arena bulls are well treated because they deserve a good life before their gruesome deaths. Hah, if only!! These animals are allowed to live peaceful quiet lives, away from humans, so that the shock of the arena will be as great as possible ... as disorienting and frightening as possible ... so that the bulls will be the less able to fight back. Do you think that if these big strong animals were allowed to observe us closely every day of their lives for what, 4-5 years, and then forced to fight us to the death ... do you really think that if that was the practice, one of these cowardly bullfighters gored half to death would be a rare enough occurrence to be front page news?

Not on your life. And certainly not on theirs. >:-(

BELGIUM 2010 - Me and My Guitar

Ah, Belgium ... poor Belgium. They have three official languages, but because of their endless internal bickering they can hardly decide which one to use these days. So is it better to use English or to just make up some new language? :-D

This year they've gone with English, anyway. The singer may sound English too, but he's not ... he is Flemish, and his unlikely-sounding last name is only a stage name. Rather obviously, I'd say. The song is ... kind of cute. The lyrics are unfortunate, but the melody is sweet and may stand out. His voice is good, unusual, I'd say. Again something that may stand out. It's hard to do well with a ballad, though, so I don't know. The lyrics get stupider every time I hear them, too. If this song had been in Flemish or French I might have liked it a lot. The tune is by far the strongest point this song has.

Belgium goes on as #10 in the first semifinal. I don't know that that slot will be a good thing for this song. I think it depends on the other entries, how good they are (ie, not very good so far ;-) ... but this song may end up not doing very well, I suspect. It is possibly too low key to stick in people's minds very much, I think.

This is Tom Dice performing Me and My Guitar which he cowrote with Ashley Hicklin and Jeroen Swinnen. They will be competing for Belgium on May 25th.

Lyrics here.

And now, an old joke!!

Last month a world-wide survey was conducted by the UN.
The only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"
The survey was a huge failure because of the following:
1. In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.
2. In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.
3. In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.
4. In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.
5. In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.
6. In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.
7. In the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
8. In Australia they hung up as soon as they heard the Indian accent.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quote of the Week

All music is beautiful.
Billy Strayhorn

I'm not entirely sure I can agree with this statement, but I appreciate the sentiment. :-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 2010 - Thunder and Lightning

Yay, another song that isn't too bad. The lineup really isn't all that this year. I had high hopes for Bosnia ... their song last year was fantastic, beyond fantastic. I love that song, I listen to it all the time. And their entry in 2006 was so beautiful too. So I tend to hope for good things from the Bosnians ... and this year their song is, well, not too bad. Pretty good. I like it. :-) A pretty simple rock song, lyrics that would have been more effective in Bosnian, probably, but not hideously embarrassing either. A melodious tune well performed. He's alone on stage most of the performance, though, which is a very hard way to win. Not that this has a real chance to win, anyway, I don't think. But I like it. The Bosnians can hold their heads up this year too. :-)

This is Vukašin Brajić performing Thunder and Lightning which he cowrote with Dino Šaran and Ulvilja Tanović. They'll be competing for Bosnia & Herzegovina on May 25th. Predicted results ... good but not spectacular.

Lyrics here.

SERBIA 2010 - Ovo je Balkan

Yeah, I know - is it a boy or a girl? :-D It's a boy, and not a half bad one either.

OK, sure, I agree, it's seriously cheesy. Over the top. But it's fun!! I like this entry so much. I like it more and more the more I hear it. It's a fun song that he performs really well, he has great stage presence ... pretty good voice, and it goes well with the song. Fun performance, again, totally over the top, but that's the point. I dig it when the dancers in national costumes start pulling his clothes off. :-D A good song that's going to do well.

Some are pegging this song as the winner, but I don't think so ... despite what people say, an entry needs support from both the Eastern and Western blocs to win, and I don't see westerners voting for this song much. But I think it's going to do really well ... I hope it'll do really well, because if it does, lots of heads will explode here in the west. :-D

And I love the opening of this video ... !! Don't you just dig the folk music version of the Te Deum that plays over the performer bio?? :-D

This is Milan Stanković performing Ovo je Balkan - the title means These Are the Balkans - by Goran Bregović and Marina Tucaković, who will be competing on May 25th. Good luck to them!! :-D

Lyrics with translation here.

Check out this post about the Catholic church over on Pharyngula. Thought they only stick it to kids? Nah, they pull the same shit on women in developing countries, too. Don't you just love it when someone shares a horrible story about abuse and suffering, and then someone says, Those are her experiences, but ...


LATVIA 2010 - What For?

OK, back to the mean & bitchy. Whew, glad I got a little break there with the Slovaks yesterday. The Latvians though I have to be mean to. Because seriously, WTF is this?? o_O

One good thing about this song is the singer. Good voice. Especially towards the end there it really takes off. Tragic waste of talent.

Bad things about the song. Where do I begin?? The melody isn't half bad. But why does it have lyrics in English?!? Oy vey ... the pain, the pain!! Seriously, this song is almost beyond stupid. What for do people live until they die? Only Mr God knows why. This song made my brain hurt. I mean, ouch. What's wrong with people?? What for, indeed.

Then there's also the performance, which is seriously fucked up ... I could hardly believe what I was watching the first time I saw it. Giant dress that covers half the stage, does that remind anyone of anything? Mira Craig is with her in spirit. ;-) The women with the water bowls ... the accordion, nooo ... !! The portable staircase. I mean, they have some major work to do on their scenography. Please don't make me watch this again next month.

It's sad, because if the lyrics had been in Latvian and the scenography and choreography had been less freaky weird, this would have been a really good entry. Again, a waste of talent. This is Aisha performing What For? with music by Jānis Lūsēns and lyrics by Guntars Račs, who will be competing in the first semi-final, on May 25th. I shudder at the thought.

Lyrics here.

I hope you've all noticed that I've been trying to make these ESC posts more inclusive, by including a little extra something in each of them, so that they may possibly be interesting to the non-ESC fans among my readers. I know you're out there. Today's extra is an article that is mostly of interest to those who read Norwegian. Take a look at it, here. Now, I just have to say this one thing:

Hva i HÆLVETE er dette for noe forbanna piss???? NRK, shame on you!! >:-(

Does anyone want to buy an old coat??

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SLOVAKIA 2010 - Horehronie

OK, now we're talking ... !! Finally a song I can say really nice things about without lying. ;-) I love that Slovakia is participating this year, they've only been in the contest a very few times (click here to see exact years and entries) and when they competed last year, it was the first time in over a decade. I loved their song last year. They didn't do very well - in fact they have never done well, their best ever results was 18th place in 1996 - but the song was lovely. :-)

This year the song is lovely too. The performance isn't very original (echoes of Ruslana!!) but the song itself is melodious and beautiful. I love that it's in Slovak and I love that the topic of the song is so untraditional. (The title is quite unfortunate in Norwegian, but it isn't what it sounds like - Horehronie is a very picturesque region in Slovakia, and this song is an homage to it.) I think this entry has the potential to do really really well. Its biggest weakness is, sadly, the singer. Her voice is either pretty damn weak, or she's incredibly nervous. Hopefully it's the latter, and she'll do better in the Arena next month. Fingers crossed, because I really like this song. :-) Striking gown too; of course outlandish costumes usually can't hurt. ;-)

This is Kristina Pelakova performing Horehronie by Martin Kavulič and Kamil Peteraj; they will be competing for Slovakia on Tuesday, May 25th.

Lyrics with translation here.

Have you ever met anyone who's been to Slovakia? Anyone who's gone there on vacation? I don't think I know anybody who's ever been there. I've actually been to four of the five countries that border it (although to some more than others ;-) and I haven't been to Ukraine - yet) but going to Slovakia has actually never even occurred to me. I don't know why not. Reading up on it a little makes it seem like a pretty interesting place to go. Hmmm ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ESTONIA 2010 - Siren

OK, I realize I've been saying mostly mean & nasty things about this year's entries so far, and it's maybe time to start being nice to someone, but seriously, this is some messed up shit right here.

I will start off by saying something nice, though. Just to prove that I am not completely a heartless machine creature. This song is really catchy, and his voice isn't that bad. It's interesting, an unusual singing voice. So they could have done something with this. But then again, brr ...

It's only catchy about halfway through, then it gets repetitive and annoying. The performance is seriously weird and off-putting. What's with the dancers and their bizarre leg action, and what is with that bunch of flowers?? Then there's the lyrics ... the less said, the better. The title makes no sense. If English is so difficult, why not sing in Estonian?? It would definitely have gone down better that way.

It's not only his life that's lame ... >:-) This entry will probably, hopefully, fingers crossed, do really badly. The Estonians need to be taught a lesson. We know they can do it, their entry was so wonderful last year! I don't know what they were thinking with this one. This guy wasn't among the favorites in their national final as I recall, so I don't know what happened there. And, no joke, I don't want to know.

This is Malcolm Lincoln - which is not a person, although it sounds like one, it's actually the band name - and their backing dancers/singers/whatever those guys are, Manpower 4, performing Siren. It was composed by the singer, Robin Juhkental, who will be competing at Fornebu on May 25th.

Lyrics here.

Sad news, at least for Norwegians who were little around 1980 - Gustav Lorentzen died today. :-( He was only 62 years old, that's like five years younger than my father. o_O Half of Knutsen & Ludvigsen, gone forever. :-( But we will always have the badger in the ceiling ... !!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RUSSIA 2010 - Lost and Forgotten

How the mighty have fallen ... !!

Just last year we all gathered in Moscow to celebrate Russia's victory with a song that, although it's not for everyone (but what song is?), is still quality craftsmanship on some level. Two years after their long-anticipated win, we get ... Golly. I give up. I don't really know what this is.

What are you doing, man?
I'm looking at her photos.
What should I do with them?
Drop them into the fire.

This is one of those songs that really, really ought to have been in Russian. I don't want to know this shit. The singer has this whining voice that's just so annoying and also, look at his face ... doesn't it look like he's had a tiny stroke? Should he even be on a stage, he may need medical attention. o_O And the piano, the guitar ... the quasi-religious lyrics ... there are just all these weird elements that do come together into a whole, but ... ouch, my brain ...

The audience reaction is weird as well, it's like they're at a religious meeting. A revival. I don't want to know what the rest of the Russian lineup was like this year. Ouchie.

Well, don't let me poison your minds ... let Peter Nalitch & Friends do it for you. Peter wrote and composed the song himself. Yes, Peter needs some kind of help. In the absence of which he will be competing with Lost and Forgotten in Telenor Arena on Tuesday, May 25th.

Lyrics here, if you don't value your sanity.

In other news, guess what happened on this very day four years ago. :-) That's when I got Raphael. I can't believe it's been four years! Aw, when we first met he didn't like me, I tried to hold him, but he constantly squirmed away from me and went to his then owner every time. :-( Didn't at all like this strange new twolegs. I hope he likes me now, a little bit. ;-)

Here he is on his first outing this year, the Sunday before last, when it was incredibly warm here. He went digging in the dead leaves along the hedge, so he got a faceful of dirt. Even his nose is full of it. :-D

Here's to many more years of chelonian happy. :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Did I mention ...

... that I saw The Private Lives of Pippa Lee the other day? It was good, a couple of damn annoying characters, but what do you expect. That's just true to life, I guess. ;-) Not a lot of action, mostly just people talking about their feelings, but well written and well acted. I recommend it ... if you like that sort of thing. ;-)

In other news, here's something really funny that I saw in the comments section over at Dagbladet online tonight. I know, I shouldn't laugh, but it's pretty funny:

Message from Iceland: Leggja 30 milliærðir Euro í Sýppelkassin Íslenþka ámbasaðins I nátt, og vi skrúr af vulkÁnin! Ekki ringja pólísín!!!

I wonder how that would look in Google Translate, or Babelfish ... ? :-D

But seriously, I do feel bad for the Icelanders. They're really having the worst luck. And it's embarrassing to be a non-Icelander when all people complain and whine about is how they'll miss their weekend in London or their trip to Gran Canaria or whatever. I mean, can we try to keep some perspective?? Sheesh. I hardly dare to think what Norwegians would be saying if all this shit had gone down here. Then we'd have something to whine about ... !! >:-(

Sunday, April 18, 2010

MOLDOVA 2010 - Run Away

OK, did I say yesterday that I didn't know what to think about the Icelandic entry? Maybe I should take that back. I really don't know what to think about the Moldovan entry ... o_O

One thing I guess I like about it is that even if they're doing the violin thing too - who isn't this year, and no prizes for guessing why - they're trying to be original about it. I mean, it's awful, but points for effort.

This song is totally not to my taste, it's not my kind of music at all. But if it was, I'm thinking that I still wouldn't like it. It's annoying more than anything. Repetitive and annoying. The singer isn't very good, she's out of breath after like two minutes. Hearing this, I certainly do want to run away ... >:-)

Kudos for trying something new, I guess, but I can't imagine this entry doing at all well. Who's going to like it? If they're doing the same thing they did last year, I'm afraid these kids are going to have to scrounge up the money for their own return flights.

This is the Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira performing Run Away by Anton Ragoza, Sergei Stepanov and Alina Galetskaya, who will be competing for Moldova on May 25th. Never to be seen again, probably.

Lyrics here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quote of the Week

Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
Friedrich Nietzsche

ICELAND 2010 - Je ne sais quoi

This is one of those songs that I just don't know what to think about. When I first heard it I immediately liked it, and I started thinking that hey, this is really good. But as you listen to it more I think you'll agree that while it is good - it has a catchy beat and a really good chorus, and the singer has a good voice and stage presence - it also lacks originality and is pretty much a really standard song. It doesn't stand out, not really ... neither in a bad way or a good way.

This is the kind of song that makes the country that sends it think that they're going to do soo well with it, but then they end up doing badly, often not even qualifying for the final, and are left scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong. I think the results for this song are going to depend to a huge extent on the competition.

I like this song a lot, but I have to say that I think there isn't a chance in hell that they'll manage a repeat of last year's wonderful results (as you may recall, they came second in Moscow). It's good, but it isn't anything more than that, either. IMHO. :-)

This is Hera Björk Þórhallsdóttir performing Je ne sais quoi, which she wrote and composed herself in collaboration with Örlygur Smári. They will be competing at Fornebu on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010.

Lyrics here.

Another ESC post that has to end on a sad note. Will it never end for the Icelanders?? First their economy collapses with all that that entails, everything goes to hell in a handbasket, then Icesave, and now Eyjafjallajökull erupts and quite probably Katla will, too ... and they get blamed for shutting down air traffic all over western Europe, poor bastards. It's like a soap opera that you can't stop watching, you just have to see what happens next. It's also a little suspicious though, the timing seems pretty odd. It kind of looks like an insurance scam, doesn't it ... first they get in heaps of money trouble, then they declare bankruptcy, and now they torch the place.

No, sorry, that isn't really funny when you really think about it. (And it isn't even my joke, I stole it from someone over at Dagbladet online.) I feel bad for the Icelanders, they don't deserve this. Here's hoping Katla doesn't erupt and really lands them in hot water, no pun intended. Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Must-read article

Someone started a discussion about abortion on the Swap-bot forum ... not sure if it's visible unless you're logged in as a member, but it's here, anyway. It reminded me of an article about this topic that I think is so interesting and important, and ought to be read by everyone who has any interest in this issue. The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion. When the Anti-Choice Choose by Joyce Arthur. Here. Read it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Raphael peeping out through my fingers. I think this is such a fun shot.

But then afterwards he was a little bit annoyed ... :-D Don't fiddle around with my eyes, twolegs ... !!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Andy Millman on reality TV

Andy Millman being, as you may know, Ricky Gervais' character in his second TV series, Extras. This is from the non-Christmas special from 2007. (They said it wasn't a Christmas special, but it was really. :-) Andy's doing Celebrity Big Brother and has the decency to be thoroughly ashamed of himself.

Now this is a great show.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why am I watching this?

I'm watching this stupid thing on TV and it's so annoying and I really don't know why I'm watching it. Especially since, and I'm ashamed to say it, this is the third episode. I know, what's wrong with me?? >:-(

Anyway ... it's this new reality show, Lisa goes to Hollywood. It's about the singer/actress Lisa Stokke - the original Sophie in Mamma Mia! - supposedly trying to make it big in Hollywood. NRK's been following her around with a camera crew while she's been living there for ... three months, I think, trying to find her big break. I know, give me a break. The whole setup is so annoying. She is so impressed with everything, it's like she's thirteen years old, I don't know what's wrong with her. Or is there something wrong with me? o_O It's like everything she sees and everything that happens is so incredibly exciting to her, when to me it's just beyond boring and stupid ... like OMG that's Arnold Schwarzenegger's house!! Squee!! OMG I'm getting my new amazing head shots!! Squee!! OMG I'm going to see a play and there's some guy in it who's been in like five episodes of 24 and OMG OMG OMG!! Squee!! I mean, it's just exhausting to watch it, and it's so stupid. Why does she care about this stuff? Why does anyone care? And why am I watching it??

I should probably stop. This show is marginally better though, than those really infernally stupid ones like Swedish Hollywood Wives and whatever they're all called ... I've watched like one half episode of those just to see what it's about, since they're so much in the media and people are talking about them. I want to know what stuff like that's about so I can diss it with authority. But it's really pretty much unbearable to watch it. I don't understand why they care about all this shit, and they are SO full of themselves ... at least Stokke isn't quite there yet. If she does turn into one of them I hope I will not still be watching at that point. Give me strength ...

But one more thing, now that I'm talking about crap on TV. These shows that I've been talking about now, they just annoy me. And I annoy myself by watching them. But one show that I seriously am starting to hate, and I have no idea why I'm watching it, is Lost. Jesus Christ on a crutch how I loathe that show. I curse the day I ever started watching it. Don't get me wrong, the first season was good ... and that was when I thought I guess I'm just going to watch this show till it ends, whenever that turns out to be. It'll be interesting to see how they work this all out. Oh, the folly of my youth ... !!

Yeah, that was six seasons ago and now these goddamn bastards are still beating this dead horse. I hate this show so much now and I don't know why I can't stop watching it. It's not like I care about the plot or about any of the characters. I hope the ending is that the whole island explodes and kills off the lot of them. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I think I know why it is though. It's because they said that they had it all figured out, the ending and everything, and the show wasn't open-ended like most American TV shows that just run till the producers can't squeeze another penny out of the advertisers. So that appealed to me. But it was lies, all lies!! I will never trust anyone again.

Tomorrow night's another episode. When will this torture end!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yes, but no

I've been listening to Which Witch a lot the past few days. Damn, that's good stuff. I mean, seriously. How could that thing bomb. It's a mystery. One of my dreams - and I do mean dream, because this is just never gonna happen - is to one day see a movie extravaganza kind of thing of this play. Musical, opera musical, whatever. Phantom of the Opera style ... except that hopefully it would suck less. Just WW as it is, straight off, no changes necessary. I really would be so beyond ecstatic if that ever happened. Never will, like I said. But it would be so unbelievably fantastic if it did. If someone really serious and gifted made it and it came out as well as it has the potential to ... then, wow. Just wow. :-)

Or maybe not? Bearing in mind this dream of mine, and on the other hand Keanu's dream (or so he claims, at least, but he does sometimes just blow people off with bs, so let's hope) of one day starring in a musical. Combine these two, and terrible things happen in my mind. Don't believe me, then see - or hear, I guess - for yourselves.

On the other hand, the irony is that Graham Bickley isn't really that much of a singer either. Except that, you know, he is a singer. o_O

In other news, look what I'm going to get in the mail one of these days. This painting. Squee!!

Someone on Swap-bot painted it for me. I just discovered it totally by accident, it was on the front page of the 'Bot this afternoon and I clicked it to see better, because I thought it was wonderful, and I discovered that it's for me. That swapper who loves the color green and turtles, that's me. :-D I'm so lucky! I do love it, before I've even seen it! The internet is a wonderful thing. :-D

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Want to be safe in Australia?

Then don't go to church.

Seriously, if you want to avoid becoming the victim of crime during your trip down under, stick to strip clubs and porn joints. You'll be safer there. Really.

I know, it's pretty childish, but as the godless heathen I am I do tend to get some petty satisfaction out of things like this that show that the other side aren't as much better than us as they like to claim ... or indeed, as in this case, that they are worse. :-D From the Herald Sun, here.

Also, if you're interested, there's a really interesting discussion going on right now over at the Atheist Experience blog. Here, to be exact. It's lengthy, and getting lengthier, but very interesting. Yes, what is a true Christian, and is there such a thing??

Saturday, April 10, 2010

POLAND 2010 - Legenda

The first time I saw this entry, it was the official video version ... and I was not impressed, to say the least. Weirdly, when I then looked at the live version, from the national finals, the entry was much better. The singer's voice is better and the song even seems more melodious. Weirdness. But I guess that means that the song may have a better chance live than what one might initially assume. :-)

That doesn't mean it has much of a chance, though. I'm not really sure I can say what exactly is wrong with it, but I don't see it scoring very highly. The singer's not too bad, although I don't agree with the extreme praise of his voice that I've come across a few places. The lyrics are kind of stupid ... but what do I expect from Poland, right? ;-) The chorus is pretty good, I like the chorus. But it isn't very catchy - the pretty good-ness just lasts while I'm listening to it, five minutes later I can't hum it for shit. So ... I question whether this will stick in the minds of the audience. However, with the new voting system in place, that will matter much less, of course. The new system will be to the advantage of songs like this one, that aren't very memorable but not at all too bad then and there.

This is far from the worst we've heard from Poland, and it's not entirely without some originality and creativity. I don't think it'll be the worst we'll see this year. :-) But I can't see it getting more than mediocre results. Nothing really wrong with it, but it's also not memorable. So ... meh. Check out the difference between live and video though, that's pretty unusual. :-)

This is Marcin Mroziński performing Legenda, composed by the man himself and with lyrics by Marcin Nierubiec. These two namesakes will be competing in Telenor Arena in Bærum outside of Oslo on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010.

This is the official video. It has some moments that for some reason remind me of Twilight. Not a good thing, obviously.

Lyrics here.

Today's post is an ESC review because it's about damn time, and I chose Poland's as the entry to review today because it would then also give me a good opportunity to say how shocked and saddened I am by the terrible tragedy that has struck the Polish nation today. I could hardly believe it when I first heard about it earlier today. It sounded like something that could only happen in a Hollywood movie. But sometimes the truth is worse than fiction. My sympathies and condolences to the Polish people, and not least to all those already touched by the dreadful events at Katyn so many years ago. This is all just so horrible that it's hard to believe it's true. My deepest condolences. :-(

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quote of the Week

I shall either be court-martialed, or I shall become a hero of this war. Fire away.
Colonel Birger Eriksen, commander of Oscarsborg Fortress.
April 9th, 1940.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is here ... !!!

It is, look ... !! :-D The year's first coltsfoot. Isn't it beautiful? The weather wasn't too good today, overcast and drizzly, so the three or four of these that I found weren't exactly in full bloom. But still, look, what an amazing little splash of color it is. Beautiful. :-) Happy spring!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Worst book EVAR

I'm doing a challenge this year, a reading challenge ... I'm planning to read one book every month from a country that I've never read any literature from before. Whew. :-) This month's new country was Belarus, I just finished that book today ... last month's was Haiti, but I ended up crossing Chile off the list too, semi-accidentally. :-) January's was Bahrain. Barf. The book, a so-called novel called QuixotiQ, was perhaps the worst book I have ever read in my entire life. It filled me with frustrated rage. What a total waste of paper. KAS, you can back me up on this, I know. ;-) I had to make a Youtube video to share my annoyance with the world.

Not to toot my own horn, but the video's way better than the book. Although, of course, that is really saying very little. But hey, my t-shirt's awesome, right?!! :-D

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Things not to do in traffic

So, those of you who know me well know that I always have my camera with me pretty much wherever I go - and I really do mean wherever - I hardly even go to the grocery store without that thing. And I take pictures of all kinds of weird things. (I am really annoying to go hiking with, apparently.) It's come in handy a lot of times ... I've gotten some good shots that way. :-) Sometimes when you're just sitting on the bus or waiting for a train or whatever, something really cool or fun or strange can happen, and you can be there to capture it for eternity. o_O

But sometimes, alas, you just aren't quick enough. Sometimes, even though I have the camera with me, I don't get shots that I really want, because the camera is in a bag or a purse or a backpack and I don't get hold of it quickly enough. Like the week before Easter. What I wouldn't have given to have had my camera ready in my hand just then ... !!

I was sitting on the bus on my way home from work, and it was kind of inching its way along Tveten Road, where there's usually a lot of traffic at that time of day. So I'm sitting there, minding my own business, looking at people going by in the opposite direction in their cars ... and I see a woman using her cell phone, punching in a number and then putting it to her ear and talking. She totally looked at the screen while she punched the number ... she held the phone up in front of her and looked at the screen pretty closely. Which, yeah, you're not allowed to do. You're not allowed to use your phone like that while you're driving, it's against the law in this country. And traffic was moving at a pretty good speed in the direction she was going, so that's actually a potentially serious no-no, using your phone like that. You're supposed to use it only with a handsfree set. This woman didn't have a handsfree set. What she did have, though, was a police uniform. o_O <-- True story.

I want to say a full police uniform, because that would sound even better, but she didn't have her cap on, more's the pity. She may have had it on the seat next to her though, I couldn't see. And I didn't get a picture. Alas!! I only have the memory ... but I will treasure that forever.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Academy Awards, bah humbug

There are lots of annoying things about Hollywood, but perhaps one of the most annoying is Oscar night. I try to avoid it, but sometimes I can't resist ... because sometimes Keanu presents (like this year), and of course I have to see that. ;-) But generally it's one giant cringefest as far as I'm concerned. Brr.

Think that's weird coming from an ESC fan?? Well, there's one big difference between the two events. Or actually, there's two. Can you spot them?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sam Harris, an intelligent man

Watch him prove it in this speech at TED2010. Ooh, he's good.

Thanks to Shiva for bringing this to my attention. :-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quote of the Week

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called 'faith'.
Robert Ingersoll

Friday, April 2, 2010

I wants it ...

So, it's been a year since I installed that visitor counter stats thing on the blog. It's on the sidebar, really far down. It was a year ago yesterday that I figured out how to install those. :-) I don't remember what time it was, except it was pretty late at night, so the stats will be off by a couple dozen, I guess. I've had 33,865 page hits in one year. I don't know if that's really good or bad or what :-) but I have to say I'm pretty happy with it. I've had hits from so many places all over the world - again, scroll down to see the current visitors thingummy - I've actually been meaning to do a blog post on that one of these days. It's pretty amazing where people are coming from sometimes. :-) If you're one of them, thank you!! :-)

In other news, I went to my parents' house for dinner tonight, and my mother's new mp3 player had arrived, so of course I had to explain to her how to use it. She is like on a different planet when it comes to gizmos like that. I was kind of jealous though, because even though I already have one mp3 player that works perfectly well, and one that's sort of broken but still works, I really want one like she has too. Argh ... o_O

Dey has it ... I wants it ...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Don't trust a Catholic

At least not one who listens to the pope.

WTF is that old bastard's problem?? (Don't answer that, I know. His brain has been ruined by religion.) He makes me sick, he really does. He was on the news just now speaking to his loyal sheeple on this glorious occasion of Easter. Blech. He actually has the nerve to stand there and say to his so-called flock that it is incumbent upon them all to not follow laws that go against their indoctrinated morality. o_O

Even Muslim religious leaders have the brains to say in public (whatever they may believe in private) that when a Muslim voluntarily settles in a non-Muslim country, they must obey the laws of that state. And pardon me if I'm wrong, but didn't Jesus say the same?? Give to God that which is God's, and give to Caesar that which is Caesar's??

STFU, old man. Aside from the fact that it's stomach-turningly disgusting to see a celibate (and ancient) man condemning abortion, if the pope doesn't do what Jebus said, then what the hell is the world coming to? Shut up and obey Caesar!!

Happy Easter, folks.