Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - June

The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe (a Penguin 60)
Historien om Pi by Yann Martel AUDIO
Eichmann-forhørene edited by Jochen von Lang
The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré
Kniplingenes hemmelighet by Brunonia Barry AUDIO
When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris
Six Feet Over by Mary Roach
Kurtby by Erlend Loe AUDIO
Hun som bar skammen by Helena von Zweigbergk
Varsleren by Karin Fossum AUDIO
For ærens skyld by Unni Wikan
Kurt blir grusom by Erlend Loe AUDIO
The Torment of Others by Val McDermid AUDIO
Konspiranoia edited by Terje Emberland and Arnfinn Pettersen
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

9 printed books
6 audiobooks

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

O.M.F.G.

There is something so seriously wrong with Americans. o_O

I don't know if it's their culture or what it is. But they are so messed up. That's like something I know for a fact, but it's at the back of my mind most of the time, I don't normally think about it. But then sometimes something happens, I see or hear something that just makes me go ... O.M.F.G.

Check this out. I landed on this site from a post on the Atheist Experience blog ... it's about how Martin, one of the contributors over there, got to be on TV this week. He was interviewed about a billboard that an organization he's also a member of - or so I assume - called the Coalition of Reason has put up alongside a highway somewhere in Texas. There's a photo in the article I linked to.

In his AE blog post about the interview, Martin says that he'd be happy for people to participate in the discussion of the article at the website of whatever media outlet this was that interviewed him. So I went ... not to discuss, I don't want to waste my time on it (sorry, but not my country, not my problem). Just to see what was being said. The usual mix of Xian windbags foaming at the mouth and skeptics talking to brick walls. But it's an automatic function in the discussion arrangement on the site that has me so flabbergasted. Do you see it? WTF is up with that??

Just in case you don't see it ... or you can't be bothered to read through six pages of comments to find it (the first example is on page 5 of the comments currently) ... I'll tell you what it is. OMFG. The comment function automatically censors some word combinations, apparently. Something which I have never ever ever seen in any online discussion in this part of the world. But look closely. I could maybe, possibly, understand it if they blanked out fuck and a few other words like that. But look. In those comments, the noun form of the verb to document comes out like this:

do[censored]entation

Because it has the word cum in it. o_O

OMFG. The land of the free my shiny metal ass.

Any Americans reading this: I don't know what it is exactly, but something is seriously fucked up over where you're at, people.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I need a new computer

Seriously, I need one. This one is going so crazy in every which way, it's driving me nuts. I've been trying to put together an articulate and intelligent post here, but this thing just won't work with me. I give up.

What the hell are you grinning at?? >:-(

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How does a book just disappear?

I started reading a book today ... Machiavelli's The Prince. Very interesting, at least as far as I got, which wasn't very far. I took the turtles out - the weather's been fantastic today - and sat on the lawn reading as they walked around. Or at least mostly walked around. There was a lot of climbing on my legs and lap and shoes and bundled up cardigan and bag ... this was by the little ones ... Raphael walked a lot more but he also spent a bit of time on one of his favorite pastimes, tipping things over. He tried with the travel cage first, but it was unusually heavy - I brought all my things out in a bag (camera, phone, keys, book, an apple, a bottle of water, sunglasses, mp3 player, headphones) but when he crawled into the bag and peed in it I moved everything over into the cage - so he gave up and tried it with me instead. Ie, burrowing in underneath me and tipping me over. It didn't work. ;-) Anyway. I started reading the book. Read the introduction and various related bits, and ten pages of Machiavelli's text. Then when we had been outside for long enough I brought everything inside. Now I want to continue reading, but where's the book??

I know I brought it in with me - I remember putting it in the bag and I remember seeing it lying on the hall floor. It's not there now, but I know for a fact that I saw it. And I know where I expect it to be, too. I tidied up earlier, and what I remember doing with the book is putting it in the living room, on the floor in front of my chair ... so I could pick it up and just sit down with it. :-) But now when I want it, it's not there. It's totally gone from anywhere at all that I remember seeing it.

Well, of course books don't just disappear. The title of this post is misleading. I finally found it on top of the hamper in the bathroom. The weird thing is that I have no memory whatsoever of putting it there. Why would I even bring it in there? o_O This is actually kind of interesting. An illustration of the way the mind works. I obviously did bring the book into the bathroom. I'm the only one here, and that's where it was, so I've clearly done it without remembering it. What I remember doing isn't what I actually did. I remember it wrongly because it's not an important memory and I did it pretty much on automatic pilot, so it didn't register well in my brain ... and so I remember the rational thing that I should have done, instead of the irrational thing that I actually did.

And people wonder how religions could have developed if they weren't really true ... ?? :-D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Interesting blog

Another short blog post ... I'm really lazy these days, not sure why. This will be really short, but I hope you'll find it interesting. I discovered a new blog the other day while surfing ... that is, it's new to me, but it was started in October last year. The writer was raised as a Mormon, but in her early twenties woke up to the absurdity of her religion ... or cult, whatever ... and managed to get out of it. Now she is a happy atheist. :-) She writes really well and at least to me it's very interesting to get a former insider's view on this issue. Mormonism isn't very big in Norway, to put it mildly. ;-) Check out the blog if you're interested in this type of thing, I really recommend it. The title may sound a little off-putting, but it's from a quote from the Book of Mormon. The Whore of All the Earth, here. Happy reading. :-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quote of the Week

One of my all-time favorite quotes to share with you today ...

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.
Winston Churchill

... because I just came back from playing Risk at Calyx' and N's house. ;-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A fir tree in closeup

I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately. Don't know why ... just lazy, I guess. :-) But here are a few that I took back in April that I'm pretty happy with. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's over, it's finally over!!

Happy day, oh happy day ... !!!

The last episode of Lost was on TV here tonight. It's over, I'm free!! Happy day!!

I didn't get the ending, but who cares, I sure don't!! :-D All I know is I was disappointed, because the island didn't sink or explode and none of the characters died a drawn-out, agonizing death ... which they all so richly deserved ... or maybe Jack did? Or was that a dream, or was the whole happy reunion thing a dream? What a total piece of shit this show was.

But that doesn't matter any more because now it's OVER!!! Praise Jebus!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PZ Myers in Oslo

I'm guessing, or at least I'm hoping, that everyone reading this are familiar with the blog Pharyngula ... ? You guys are educated and well-informed, right? ;-) Well, the man behind that blog, PZ Myers, was in Oslo last week, on his way to an atheist convention in Copenhagen. He gave a lecture at the House of Literature, and KAS and I went there, of course. It was great to listen to him - the topic was 'Creationism in America', but he talked about a lot more than that. Not that much new information, but all the same, it was a really good experience. He was entertaining and articulate and definitely worth seeing. :-)

I'm slowly but surely putting the lecture up on Youtube. This is the first part of nine ... two more are on my channel already and the rest will follow soon. Enjoy. :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm going to Ireland!

Yay! :-) I bought my tickets tonight for my trip to Ireland this summer. Whee, exciting! :-) Ireland is one of the few countries in western Europe that I've never been to. The others are Finland and Portugal. One down, two to go. ;-) I can't wait to see for myself what Findabair's been raving about all these years ... ;-)

The big question is, of course, since everyone has a great-grandfather in Ireland, will I discover Keanu's Irish ancestors ... ? Paz, consider it a challenge ... !! :-D

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Speeches

I just can't get over that wedding just yet. :-) Here are the speeches at the dinner ... some words from the heart that won't be soon forgotten. :-)

Click on the links to see the videos in full windows ... probably better. :-)

King Carl XVI Gustaf's speech as father of the bride:


Olle Westling's speech as father of the groom:

'You didn't make it as a hockey pro, son, but we're proud of you anyway'. Hah. :-) This guy is actually pretty special - Daniel has a congenital kidney disease that he needed a transplant for ... he had the operation last spring and his father, this guy, was the donor. That's something that not every parent would do for their child.

Prince Daniel's speech to his bride (with subtitles):


Ooh, and the wedding waltz ... ! So relaxed and casual, gotta love it. :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CONGRATULATIONS ...

... to Sweden!!!!

Yeah, I know we Norwegians bitch about the Swedes a lot, but we do love them really. And I'm sure I am so far from the only Norwegian who is completely glued to the TV set right now. :-) Congratulations to any & all Swedes reading this on what I'm sure is going to be a fantastic and beautiful royal wedding. And most of all congratulations to Victoria and Daniel. :-)

Watching all the bigwigs arrive to these things is always fun ... the women mostly, since the men all dress the same. ;-) There are some dresses here that I take exception to, especially that hot pink one that whoever it was was wearing ... and I have to say that I don't think our own Princess Märtha has been very successful in her choice today. Grown women in all pink just is not the thing. IMO. Wear all the pink you want, but personally, I think that as a general rule pink dresses aren't for grownups.

Mette-Marit though looks amazing ... as I knew she would. The dress is a bit too flouncy for my taste but it's lovely on her. I knew she would wear pastel ... baby blue is totally her color. Aw, she's so pretty. I can't wait to see what Victoria will wear though. Can you imagine how many people are waiting for that ... ! :-D I'm sure that whatever she's picked, it will be beautiful ... and she will look a perfect princess ... but I don't think that the dress can be quite as gorgeous as Mette-Marit's dress was. I am not a wedding person but I have to say that that gown is my favorite wedding dress ever.

Ooh, Harald and Sonja ... Queen Sonja looks great as always. And Queen Margrete too. She just is such a totally classy lady. Now Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine ... the latter an impeccable beauty, but the former a little too surgically enhanced for my taste. (But I like her dress a lot - even though it's pink! Ouch, my brain ... ! Can we agree that it's actually more purple than pink?) The groom and his about-to-be-brother in law ... who I think the Swedes should bless themselves for avoiding as king, because he really seems to be a grade A dimwit. Despite what his father may think.

The male commentator just said that this is special because it's the marriage of a future 'statschef' ... but that can't be right? At least in Norwegian it would be wrong. She will not be 'chief of state' as in head of government, she will be head of state, which isn't the same thing at all. A little gaffe there, I think?

But now - the bride ... !! Oooh, she's so pretty ... !! Oh, she looks fantastic, and so happy. Entering the church on her father's arm ... he will give her away, I don't approve of that at all. It's a disgusting tradition, but what are you gonna do. The king's in his, what, grand admiral uniform ... looking very spiffy. What are the children who walk ahead of the bride down the aisle called in English? o_O Our future queen is one of them, and the future king of Denmark too. She is six years old and he is four. I love royal weddings. :-D

OK, the dress is gorgeous, except for that massive train. That is too much. I hope no one steps on it. >:-) So ... beautiful dress, but could have been better. She herself looks absolutely perfect though. Extremely happy and a little nervous. :-) I have to say that I love that Daniel is wearing his chunky nerd glasses. I mean, it's his wedding, he wants to look his best, so anyone would forgive him for switching to contacts just for today. He did for the engagement announcement. But nope. Those are his glasses and he's gonna stand by them. :-D

Aw, they're holding hands, they're both nervous. :-D She kissed his hand even. :-) How messed up is it that the prelates are turning their backs on the bride and groom ... I mean, to an atheist there is just so much here that looks so freaky. Please, invisible man in the sky, bless this couple! I have no idea what either of them personally believe, but they have no choice, they have to have this massive church wedding with the archbishop and hymns and praise be to God. That is one of the very few arguments I can accept against the constitutional monarchy. But they don't seem to be very worried about it ... or about anything much. :-) OMG they're married!! Aw, Daniel had to cry a little bit. :-D He's not used to this kind of thing like she is ... but now there's no going back, Prince Daniel. Pretty crazy actually. o_O Hm, Dagbladet's saying that she cried too ... I didn't see that. She was smiling so much that I didn't think to look for it. :-)

The archbishop was the first person EVAR to be able to say 'you, Prince Daniel' ... that's all well and good, but did he have to actually mention the fact in his speech to the couple? o_O I gotta hand it to Victoria, she is perfect in public, she carries herself with absolutely utter perfection. I love it that she winks at Daniel like that, it's so charming. :-) Reminds me of my favorite part of any royal wedding ever ...

Namely when Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, married Maxima Zorreguieta back in 2002. :-) They had the second ceremony in the New Church in Amsterdam, it's from the 17th century and has stone walls that are something like a meter thick. Yet when the prince said 'Yes', the cheers from the crowd outside were so loud that they could be heard even inside the church. (The ceremony was being broadcast live on giant TV screens set up outside the building.) And the officiating prelate said to the prince, 'They can hear you!' Then everyone laughed. It was soo Dutch, I loved it. :-)

Anyway ... they're married, everything's gone well, and people are cheering madly in the streets as the wedding cortège passes through the city. The bride and groom are riding in an open carriage and smiling and waving at everybody, and there are crowds everywhere shouting and cheering and waving flags. (With Security Police officers running alongside literally the whole way. Poor bastards. :-D) Kind of sad to think that we won't be seeing anything like this in Oslo again for what, 20 years. :-( But again, massive congratulations to the Swedes. A wonderful event and a great memory for the entire Swedish people ... but most of all of course for Crown Princess Victoria and the brand new Prince Daniel.

Aw. :-)


Edited to add that I realized why he's wearing glasses and not contacts. It's because he knew he would be crying. ;-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Something I'd like to know

Who exactly is this person - or persons, I suppose - who leaves food out for the birds by the foot of the statue of Tor fighting Jormundgand every fucking morning?

OK, I accept that it may not be every single morning. Maybe not weekend mornings - I only go by there on weekdays and I can't say for sure that it happens on weekends as well. I would imagine that it does, because why stop on Friday? But even if the feeder is taking weekends off, five days out of seven is bad enough.

My bus goes by that statue every single morning at either ten past seven, or forty past. And there are the birds, chomping away at whatever's been left for them. Is it just me, or is that just wrong? What is the person thinking who is leaving all this? I mean, why even feed those birds? Those particular birds? Feeding pigeons at all outside of St Mark's Square in Venice is bad enough. But to feed pigeons at Tveita? Why fucking bother? Not to even mention that when this person is feeding pigeons, they're also feeding seagulls. Quite a few of them.

I don't mean to disparage anyone's intellect here, but outside of a fishing boat where you just can't help it, I have to say that to actually be actively feeding gulls, you've got to be pretty much snowed in for good.

Which of course this person is, since apparently they don't realize that by feeding birds on the ground like they're doing - every single day, did I mention that?? - they are in fact just as much feeding rats?

What are people thinking. >:-(

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More ATCs

Some more ATCs I've made recently. :-)

Insects.
Favorite quote - David Walliams.
Favorite quote - Anne Frank.
Juno.
The X Files - Fox Mulder.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Theater ... !!

I don't go see it often enough, but I really enjoy live theater. And unlike with movies, when I go to the theater I feel like I can pat myself on the back afterwards. I did good, going to this cultural event and expanding my horizons. :-) But of course one has to find the right play. That can sometimes be tricky, while other times you just literally stumble across it.

Like this ... !! Look at that, wow!! When I was a kid I just completely loved this book. I recently reread parts of it and it's still just as good as I remembered. I've got to see this play. Does anyone want to go see some theater in the park with me?? :-)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cheer Up Keanu Reeves Day?

Is that necessary? Seriously, is that really necessary? I'm sure even a lot of the non-Keanufans out there, and even a bunch of the anti-Keanu crowd, have caught on to the new craze out there ... and maybe even to the fact that June 15th has been designated Cheer Up Keanu Reeves Day. o_O

Apparently, the man himself doesn't get it - and whoever thought he would doesn't know the first thing about him - and while it is so nice to see him finally getting some respect and appreciation, I don't entirely get it myself either. Sure, he's had a lot of crap happen in his life. I mean, a lot. (Which is all now being dragged up again too ... how much will that cheer him up, I wonder.) But right now I really think he needs cheering up less than he has basically ever needed it. At least professionally speaking he is doing so good now, better than ever ... Henry's Crime is looking great, Passengers is definitely going to happen, probably Jekyll too, and most importantly he's moving into the production side of movie making which IMO is the most natural step he could take. As for his private life, who can say, but Kim seems to be doing OK, and that's absolutely the most important thing. He looks pretty happy to me ... traveling around, doing his usual thing. So to pick now as the time to send letters, emails, gifts and any other niceties and kind words to a real bro, Keanu Reeves ... No, I don't really get it either.

For those who have discovered what a great guy Keanu is and are starting to really appreciate him as an actor and as a person, that's fantastic ... but seriously, don't send him anything. He doesn't want it. Keep your life to yourself and he'll do you the same courtesy. That's part of what's so great.

Maybe he isn't sad at all, maybe he's just ever so slightly pissed off that he can't even eat a simple lunch without the paparazzi stalking him wherever he goes.

Although that's not really true, he does spend a lot of his time under their radar, so to speak. But it's still a good point.

Well, happy thoughts to Keanu, anyway, although I don't believe in that shit and I'm not at all convinced he needs it. :-) Thank You, Keanu!! If you want to be like Keanu Reeves, do the most important thing of all - donate to cancer research.

Monday, June 14, 2010

BookCrossing 2.0, boo hiss!

Time for a good rant again. Now let's see if I can keep it short. OK, relatively short. ;-)

So, BookCrossing.com changed over to a brand new design a few weeks ago ... supposed to be so much better and such an improvement. New & improved. Improved my shiny metal ass. I personally, as a longtime user (shit, that sounds bad!), can't really see any improvement at all. >:-(

I do understand the reasons why the powers that be over there wanted to make a change. They have the stats and the background to read them, and if they say that with the old format they were seeing a lot of people arriving at the front page of the site and then clicking away without looking any further, then I accept that as given and I totally understand that they would want to do something about that. I just think that what they have tried to do is a total fail.

First off, trying to look at it from a new user's POV - or rather, a potential new user - the site looks totally boring. Yes, there were some problems with the layout before. The drop down menus, for instance. But the general look of the site was SO much better. You saw immediately that there was a hell of a lot going on. Now there's almost nothing to see. I've been a member for going on four years and when I went to the site today without logging on, I had to really search to find the forums! There is no link to the forums on the front page, which in itself isn't too bad, except that there isn't even a hint that such a thing as the forums exist. Yay for community feeling. >:-(

Speaking of which, I really hate that they stuck with the name 'Members Plus' for the wings program. (Sorry, I'm calling them wings from here to forever. That's what they're called. Sue me.) There was a thread on one of the forums, started a while before the changeover, in which members were invited to say what we thought, should it be called wings or Members Plus? Because they 'care what we think'. I am not at all exaggerating if I say that at least 90% of those who replied (and there were a lot of replies) were strongly in favor of the old name, wings. Yet here we are, changeover complete and irrevocable, and they're still going with Members Plus. WTF was the point of asking us if you don't care what we think and you were going to go with the new name the whole time anyway??

Everybody's profiles look much more boring now ... and I can only imagine how pointless & utterly dull they must seem to newbies or random arrivals, who don't realize (if they even figure out how to find people's profiles) that they have to click a link to see any more information about that member than just the stats ... which they will have a hard time figuring out anyway, I predict.

Searching for books is incredibly hard now since they took away the 'advanced search' function ... I've done a shitload of searches for books I know are on my shelf, but sorry, no results found. The option of 'leaving a book in the wild' is also gone, and that was a function I used a hell of a lot, since I manage the OBCZ at the Central Station and journal a lot of books for the zone. I'm not at all sure how to do that now, it's going to be journalled wrong. Dagnabbit.

I do realize that in a changeover like this, there are bound to be bugs. But I have never in my life as a net user seen anything as buggy as this. I think they must have done a pretty poor job of testing the new site, because it's been weeks now and there are still so many bugs, even though it's nothing compared to how crazy it was at first. But still, how about removing at least most of them before changing the whole site over?? Yes, I freely admit that I'm not a computer programmer and I hardly know anything about these things ... I don't even know exactly what a computer programmer does. But what did we have the beta site for if it wasn't to test for these things before the new version went public??

Yeah yeah yeah, BookCrossing is great and I do appreciate all the hard work that the people behind the scenes put into it. I just am really disillusioned with the place right now. As in, they ask us members to report any bugs we come across to help them troubleshoot, but I haven't been doing that. The sad truth is that right now I don't care enough to help them out. :-(

I am still a BookCrosser and I don't plan to ever quit ... in fact I did a really fun book release just yesterday. But apart from registering the books I have lying around and releasing them every so often, I'm mostly staying away from the site these days. I'm hoping they'll work all the bugs out, I really am ... but I don't honestly feel any interest in wasting any of my own time on them. As much as I love BookCrossing and appreciate the efforts made by the team, I seriously question whether they had really thought this all out before pushing it through.

OK, rant over. Non-BookCrossers reading this: Can you find the forums on the BC site? BCers reading this, I'd love to get your input. But wait! Wasn't this Keanu Monday? No, actually it wasn't, because tomorrow is Keanu day ... !!! Wait and see ... ! ;-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Alas, Albania

I'm still not quite over how relatively badly Albania did in the ESC this year. I love their song ... I thought it was the best they've ever sent and IMO the singer gave a great performance. OK, sure, they got through from the semi. But still, 16th? I was sure they'd be competing at the head of the field. Alas, Albania!! And they had such a wonderful fan club too ... !!!

Juliana Pasha singing live in Eurovision Village.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quote of the Week

I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake. Religion is all bunk.
Thomas Alva Edison

Friday, June 11, 2010

Different strokes

Yup, different strokes for different folks. I'm not sure whether I blogged about it, but last year on the Culture Night here in Oslo I went with the gang to various events ... one of them, the first, was in the Cemetery of Our Saviour, in the so-called Honor Grove where a number of great artists and politicians are buried. Think Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch. A kind of theater performance was presented to those assembled, I filmed some of it and made a video. Which I uploaded to Youtube. This was in September. Now, months later, I suddenly get a message from someone affiliated with the theater group who performed these theatricals - they're called Røde Rom, apparently ('Red Rooms') - demanding that I remove this video. This is their copyrighted material and bla bla bla.

I obviously can't show you the video, it's gone ... but I have to say that I think it's advantageous for people like these - ie, performing artists - to have their work featured on Youtube. Personally, I know that if I hear about a new band or whatever I'll go to Youtube and do a search ... and if nothing or very little comes up, my conclusion is usually that they're no good or really unpopular. Nobody likes them enough to want to share whatever it is that they're doing. In my opinion, it's completely a good thing if someone sees a performer or group of performers and think that what they see is so enjoyable that they want to share it with the world. However, not everybody sees it that way, and that's cool. This tiny little three-piece experimental theater group that I'd never heard of don't see it that way. They are above such things, I'm sure. Anyway, this was on Thursday that I got their message. Then today, Friday, I got another message ...

This was from the official Youtube channel of the Bosnian/Croatian girl group Feminnem. I have a video of them up too, from the concert series in Eurovision Village last month. So yeah, the contents of that video is their material, etc. Just like with Røde Rom ... except that these ladies are much bigger - they don't even compare - and have been at it for longer than the theatricals. So they'd really have reason to ask me to remove the video ... they don't need the publicity, I guess.

Except that they didn't ask me to remove the video. They sent me a friend request. Go figure. ;-)

Here's my video of them performing their lovely song from this year's ESC ...



... and here is their Youtube channel, if you're interested. :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Turtle walkies

The weather was fantastic here last week, so Anne Ida and I thought we'd make the most of it and try to combine two semi-irreconcilable concepts - a picnic and turtle walkies. It went pretty well, just with more walking than you'd expect at a picnic. It was fascinating to observe the different behavior the four little guys exhibited ... this was Anton's first time meeting other turtles since he was separated from his siblings when he was a little dime-sized critter. We thought it might be fun for him, but it seemed to be awful. Raphael, unsurprisingly, was awfullest.

Since it was a picnic, of course we had food, and as a natural result of this, Herman didn't wander very far. He generally sticks pretty close to me when we're out anyway, but this time he can't have walked more than a fourth of the distance Henrik did. As for Anton, sheesh, he managed a turtle marathon. :-) Herman was quite enamored of this tomato, since it was the same color as the feeding tub, but alas, it resisted his attempts to devour it. I wish I'd gotten a shot of him actually biting at it, but no such luck.

Henrik turns away from the camera a lot, which is usually annoying ... but at least here it shows off some of the layers of pollen he collected in his turtleneck ;-) and on his face as he was walking around.

Anton seems to hate having his picture taken ... he's forever squirming away from the camera. I took a number of crappy shots of him, but look at this one, it's adorable! Although you will notice that he was being physically restrained.

Spot the turtle. Raphael likes to burrow underneath things and, ideally, tip them over.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A thought on Oslo

People rag on Oslo, but they just like to complain. And people rag on Norway, but they just don't know what they're talking about. For my part, I love the fact that I live in a country where on a random Wednesday night you can bump into a member of government taking her children to a play all alone and unescorted in the center of the nation's capital.

But I have to say that Anniken Huitfeldt has to have a pretty lousy sense of humor. She looked soo grumpy, and who can be grumpy watching Kurt?? The play was Kurt koker hodet by Erlend Loe, at Oslo Nye tonight. Yes, it's a play for children, but as anyone who's ever read any of the Kurt books will know, he's a bundle of laughs for adults too. I thought the production was fantastic. Pretty much everyone looked great - Johannes Joner in the title role especially, he did a great job and looked just right. Quite an achievement for the costumier, since the character does have a rather ... unique appearance. :-)

Yes, I am a fan ... I dig Kurt ... but I have to say that this is a really impressive production, objectively speaking. Mostly great performances and a very creative scenography. If you have the chance, go see it. Don't listen to Anniken Huitfeldt. ;-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No true Scotsman

Check this out ... another fun day multicultural style.

I'm not familiar with this singer, and I'm guessing that this isn't necessarily a major loss, but it's the principle of the thing, and this kind of story really rubs me the wrong way. Apparently, a Danish popstrel gets hassle from immigrants because she uses the stage name Medina. During a free concert she gave recently she was pelted with eggs (!!) by a gang of 'new Danes' who felt 'offended' by her use of this so-called sacred name. (News flash: the concept of sacredness only exists in your heads.) WTF is that? I totally agree with the singer's assessment - those guys are fucked up and their parents ought to be ashamed of themselves.

But that isn't really the point of this post. What is even more interesting is the reaction of some 'Muslim spokespeople' to this event. A very predictable reaction. Namely, that these kids aren't really Muslims. Because, don't you know, if they were real Muslims, they wouldn't have been at a concert where alcohol is served and a scantily clad girl sings about stripping. OMG lulz!!

No true Scotsman, indeed. The use of this fallacy really shows how religion damages the mind. Do these people really think so little that they actually can't spot the glaringly obvious flaw in their own argument? If every single person who some other Muslim would call 'not a real Muslim' actually wasn't a Muslim, there would in fact be no Muslims. Hmmm ...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

He was such a nice man

I'm guessing that everyone who's reading this is familiar at least to some extent with the recent activities of mass murderer Derrick Bird. 12 people dead in a 'shocking surprise attack', allegedly. Although of course media coverage has been at its highest in the UK, where the events took place and where the media in general is the trashiest in the world (and thus of course collectively faints with joy when something like this happens), there's been a lot in the media here too. (Can you say 'media'?? Whee!!) And there's something that is so typical that I've seen quoted from like four different sources ... something that I was expecting to see from the moment I heard about what had happened. It never fails. He was such a nice man.

No matter how messed up the person or how disgusting and fucked up the crimes, the reaction of the perp's surroundings is always how they never saw it coming and they would never have thought him capable of anything like this, he was such a nice man. Every time a serial killer is caught or a mass murderer goes on a spree (I'll assume you know the difference between the two) it's always the one reaction you can count on like clockwork. The only exception seems to be school shooters - they only get like half of it, they usually get 'he was always a weirdo/outsider, but we never thought he'd do anything like this'. So it boils down to the same thing - people never see it coming.

Although, in fact, this reminds me of a funny story. Well, funny maybe isn't quite the word. But I like it. This is a supposedly true story that happened sometime in 1988. Some of Jeffrey Dahmer's friends, if that's the word I want, from high school had met up for coffee and were reminiscing about people they'd known back in the day. They were talking about people like that guy still lives in his parents' basement and that chick's been divorced three times ... stuff like that. One of them would throw out a name and everyone would share whatever they knew about what that person was doing. So then one of them mentioned Jeff, and it turned out that not a single one of them had heard from him or of him or has seen him at all since graduation. And they're all saying fuck, that guy was weird ... !! But they had no idea what's become of him. And then as a joke one of them said, He's probably a serial killer by now! And they all laughed. But by that time Jeff had actually killed four people ... and would kill thirteen more before the Milwaukee police finally stumbled across him. Funny joke, huh?

So, back to my point ... it's always the same, he was such a nice guy, always helped his landlady with her groceries, no one ever thought he'd ever be capable of harming a fly. I just find it so hard to credit that. Parents especially are maybe the worst. Yes, it's natural to want to see the best in your children, I guess. But if you genuinely want the best for them, does it really help to pretend like nothing's wrong and you're all one big normal family ... like the rape case in Sweden I posted about a while back, where a woman's teenage son has been convicted of rape twice in two totally separate cases, and she refuses to believe he can have done anything wrong. How does that help?

And how is it even possible? I don't mean any offense to anyone reading this, if you feel I'm pointing fingers at you, but seriously, how is it possible to not notice anything amiss if someone close to you and/or someone you spend a lot of time with is so completely fucked up mentally and emotionally that he's planning to brutally kill his own brother, the family lawyer and two coworkers ... and whoever else he comes across as well as, finally, himself? Just to stick with Bird as the example. Is it really possible to genuinely believe 100% that everything's fine and dandy and he's just so happy to be a grandfather for the first time and nothing to see here, move it along ... I don't buy it. I think it isn't a matter of genuinely believing that everything's fine, it's a matter of wanting to believe it - and wanting it enough that you trick yourself into thinking it's really what you feel.

Derrick Bird allegedly said to someone the day before the murders that 'there's going to be a rampage soon'. Yet no one reacted. Jeffrey Dahmer was in the hands of the police or other authorities a number of times, but he fell through every crack in the book. Harold Shipman was suspected by how many of his patients' relatives and friends, but who did anything about it? Jack the Ripper* was interviewed by the police as a witness, but told an obvious lie and totally got away with it. With both the lying and the killing. To paraphrase Poppy Brite, murderers are blessed with tremendous skills of adaptation ... so many of them fly under the radar so well. But I'd say it's likely that they are helped by the vast majority of people in their surroundings not even having their radars switched on. o_O

I do understand that it must be incredibly traumatic to be one of the bystanders caught up in this - to be a close relative, especially, of someone who carries out an act like this - but does it help to refuse to acknowledge reality? My little boy could never have done what those girls say he did, I raised him better than that. The Ted/Andrei/Dennis/Peter/John I knew could never have done anything like this. I'd never have seen this coming in a million years.

If those among us who are, if you'll pardon this cliché, walking time bombs, wouldn't it be more helpful for both them and their future victims for them to be seen and taken seriously for what they really are - people with serious problems that need to be acknowledged. If it's not acknowledged, it certainly can't be fixed. I can't see how it ever helps to bury one's head in the sand.

Jeffrey Dahmer's father felt, after his son's crimes came to light and Jeff made a full confession, that he should indeed have seen and understood. But it was so much easier to pretend the danger signals weren't really there. At least, easier for him ... >:-(


*I am of the George Hutchinson persuasion.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Artist Trading Cards

So, if anyone remembers my New Year's resolution to do more crafts this year ... I am so definitely living up to that, and one of the new things I've really gotten into recently are Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs for short. They are basically little artworks that can be any medium or style, the only restriction is the size, which has to be 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. You can read more about them here, and see lots of pictures.

I was nervous about trying to make these at first, I didn't feel confident that I could make them to the recipients' standards ... they are meant for trading, as the name indicates, so that you're not really supposed to keep the ones you make. At least not all of them - I know that some people make doubles of all of theirs and trade one and keep the other, but I haven't done that with any of mine so far. I just take pictures. :-) Anyway, some swaps came up on Swap-Bot that I just couldn't possibly resist ... the themes were just too tempting ... so I tried a few, and I'm happy to say that I've been getting mostly really good feedback on them. So ... always nice to get compliments. :-) That's not in any way saying that I'm fishing for them now ;-) but I wanted to share some of the ones I've been making. I'm pretty happy with all of these. :-) They're on pretty varied themes, as you'll see. :-)

Pride & Prejudice character - the BBC Mr Darcy
Joss Whedon - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Atheist quote
Cryptozoology
True Blood - Bill Compton
Dragon

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The real winners?

Not letting go of the ESC quite yet ... ;-)

I'm not saying this to toot our own metaphorical horn, but I have to say that I think the interval entertainment was to a very high standard this year. I'm so glad that NRK didn't go for anything 'typically Norwegian' - whatever that would have been - but instead decided on something modern and original. I loved what NRK head Bjerkaas said about the production as a whole ... that this wasn't Norway's party, this was all of Europe's party, and we as host had a duty to make it fun for everyone. I think we can call that mission accomplished. :-)

I'm not really a Madcon fan - it's not really my kind of music - but I like those guys a lot and I think it was a great idea to make them part of this event. And now one might say that they are ending up as the real winners of the contest, without even taking part. :-) The song they came up with for the event, Glow, is now above Satellite on the German charts. That is pretty impressive. It's shooting up the charts all over Europe, apparently, but that it's doing so extremely well in Germany is just ... fun. :-) OK, sure, Satellite was out as a single long before the contest, and has been topping the charts for what, two months ... so it has had some time to climb and peak ... but still, it won!! Fairytale had been out for at least a fortnight before the final last year, but I think it would have been extremely surprising if the Red Army Choir had topped the charts in this country a week after Rybak won. :-)

Even if you're not into the ESC, you should check out this video ... it really is fun to watch. The whole concept is so entertaining and creative and it's so well carried out. The ... Vilnians? did it best IMO. :-) Not too shabby in Dublin either. (But in London, sheesh, don't get me started.) I love the idea of filming from someone's living room in every country. Dance on the sofa!! :-D

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I learned something today

Or actually, it wasn't really today, but I'm watching South Park.

Every Friday at work we make up a batch of waffles to treat our customers - Friday is the slowest day of the week so we like to do a little extra then so people know it's still worth coming by that day. ;-) Since we have mostly professional customers the shopping pattern at our store is the opposite of what you'll see in for instance mall stores. We don't build up to the weekend ... on the contrary, the closer the weekend gets, the more our customers think that damnit, I'll leave this till next week. Anyway.

We has waffles ... and a couple of weeks ago I was making them when a customer came up and wanted some. He put raspberry jam on them and as he was eating he told me about the history of raspberry farming in this country. Apparently, up until 10-15 years ago there were a whole bunch of different raspberry canes in use in this country. He seemed to have his best information from the West Country. There used to be maybe half a dozen varieties that were common and about another dozen that were also farmed to a lesser extent. They got dessert berries from some and industrial grade berries - ie berries intended for jam and juice - from others. But then sometime in the 90s a new variety was introduced, a Scottish cane called Glen Ample ... and in just ten years it's almost completely wiped out all these other types. Or, maybe not wiped out, as such, but they're just hardly being grown anymore now. This new type works so well for both dessert and industry purposes that there's no need for any other types. I see the value in that, but it's still kind of sad.

I love raspberries ... my favorite way to eat them is with vanilla sauce, yum. :-) I actually eat them all year round these days, because there are Belgian and Portuguese berries on the market here in the winter season as well, and they're actually really tasty. Not like strawberries in winter that just taste like water. But this week some Norwegian berries have been on the shelf too. I had to get some ... they looked soo delicious, I couldn't resist. It wasn't till I got home that I remembered to look at the box. Glen Ample berries from Østre Enger farm in Sylling. Would you look at that. I learned something today. :-D