Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - August

Stolthet og fordom by Jane Austen - AUDIO
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - AUDIO
Shancarrig by Maeve Binchy (a Penguin 60)
Modoc by Ralph Helfer
Den røde døds maske og andre grøsserhistorier
by various authors - AUDIO
Greven av Monte Christo, volume one, by Alexandre Dumas
Dyrekirkegården by Stephen King - AUDIO
Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
Livlegens besøk by Per Olov Enquist - AUDIO
Greven av Monte Christo, volume two, by Alexandre Dumas
Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon
Den som graver en grav by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Paktens voktere by Tom Egeland - AUDIO
Greven av Monte Christo, volume three, by Alexandre Dumas
The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
Klondyke Bill by Helge Ingstad - AUDIO
Adama by Turki al-Hamad

11 printed books
7 audiobooks

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quote of the Week

I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read.
Thomas Babington Macaulay

Because Elin and I have been talking a lot about BookCrossing this weekend. You'll see.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NORWAY 1984 - Lenge leve livet

It's been forever since I posted an ESC entry now, so it's about time to get round to that again. :-)

This is a Norwegian entry, like I promised back in January (I think), and it's one which I'm sad to think did so badly, partly because it's my favorite band, and partly because the song really does rock. YES, the choreography was famously ill-advised. But the song itself just is so fantastic. I love it. If you can get hold of their greatest hits album, Dollies beste, then make sure to listen (more than once) to the remastered version of this song. Fantastic is the word. Benedicte's voice ... OMG.

This is Dollie de Luxe, ie Benedicte Adrian and Ingrid Bjørnov, performing Lenge leve livet, their own composition, at Théâtre Municipal in Luxembourg on Saturday, May 5th, 1984. Contrary to popular belief, they did not come last, but placed 17th out of a total of 19 competing countries (they beat Yugoslavia and Austria - hardly an impressive feat, I know). The song ought to have done much better, and indeed could have, if the performance hadn't looked so weird. :-)

Lyrics with translation here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

You know you're in northern Norway when ...

... the local grocery store has a whole selection of dried cod snacks. Not just one brand, but a whole selection. :-D

Reindeer in the streets! :-D

Hurtigruten Midnatsol lying at anchor.

Spectacular ocean views ...

And, umm ... also a little exotic. Heated with excess heat from Snøhvit, Elin says. :-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm here!

The trip went well, nothing out of the ordinary, just two hours on the plane during which I finished a good book and ate a sandwich. I left home at 1:40pm and was here at around 8:30 ... so a pretty long trip, and still in 'little' Norway. :-) Now I'm ready to go out and explore the town. Shop for postcards, perhaps. ;-) And of course take lots of pictures. Check this out, it's the view from Elin's living room. :-o

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Off I go ...

So, going off to Hammerfest in about an hour now. My plane is at ten to four. Am currently stressed and nervous. :-) That's nothing special, I'm always like that when I'm traveling somewhere, it's normal. :-) One thing that strikes me: this trip coming so soon after the trip to Ireland really brings home to me how huge Norway really is. In Ireland - get this - we drove 2,275.4 kilometers in 8 days. :-o Yeah, seriously. Paz kept track. But then we covered like half the country ... I mean, we saw SO MUCH ... we zigzagged here, there and everywhere and got to see just a gadzillion wonderful things. Now I will have to travel 2,000 kilometers just to get to Elin. o_O First a two hour flight ... that's about the same time that it takes to fly to Dublin. But this time that will only get me to Alta, so then I have another two hours ahead of me in a bus. And I'm starting from Oslo, not from down south. So seriously, my fellow Norwegians, think twice before you say that you come from a tiny country. The nation is tiny, but the country's massive. :-D

I hope I'll be able to update the blog while I'm up north, but I make no promises. I'll be back on Monday. So, see you then, if not before. :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Damnit, and yay!

I was at Tronsmo yesterday making my monthly purchase, and I discovered that - damnit! - I will be missing their backyard sale this year. For those who will be in town (KAS, I'm looking at you ;-) it's August 27th through 29th. I usually go every year, it's the best backyard sale there is. They have competitive pricing and a much more interesting selection than the publishers who do the same thing. I'll be sorry to miss it, so damnit.

But also yay, because of the reason I'll be missing it. I'm going to Hammerfest! I was going to mention it when I bought my plane tickets, but I forgot. :-) I'm going to visit my BookCrossing friend Elin. It'll be pretty exotic for me, I've never been further north than Bodø. And even that was like 20 years ago. So yay. :-) I hope to get to see some reindeer running around. ;-)

So, I'll be missing an annual event for something that will be a unique experience. At least at this point ... I hope this won't be my only visit. I haz a plan. :-) And in any case, it's probably just as well that I don't go to the sale. I still have books from the same event last year and the year before that I still haven't read. :-o

But speaking of books, WTF is up with Outland?? Since when did they close the store in Paléet?? I haven't been there to check, I just see from both the websites that they must have closed it. And reopened it in Church Street, in a much bigger space. Seriously, it's enormous. I just accidentally walked past it yesterday and was so surprised. It's good that they have more space, I guess, but at the same time it's so sad that they're not in Paléet any more. The last time I was there, I didn't even know it was the last time. :-( But what are you gonna do. The new place is badly lit but is much bigger, so presumably they will now have even more cool stuff. :-) Ooh, guess what they have already - pick and mix Legos!! How cool is that! Gah, why is K.* still such a tiny baby?! I see so much fun stuff that I want to buy for her, but, to borrow a line from Erlend Loe, she's so little that she hardly understands anything. Damnit. :-)

*K. is my honorary niece, Calyx' and N.'s daughter. She is only 7 1/2 months old now, but as she gets older, I'm afraid I will have no choice but to spoil her rotten.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dyrenes hus

C. and I went to visit an animal shelter today, Dyrenes hus. It's out in Bærum, about an hour's drive from where C. lives ... which is too bad, because they're looking for volunteers, and that would be perfect for her. :-) But it's a little too far away from home. It was a lovely place, quietly out in the woods. They offer a home, permanent or temporary, to cats and rabbits who need it, and they adopt pets out to responsible new owners. Of which there are too few ... in fact, if there were enough responsible owners to begin with, a place like this wouldn't be so necessary. We saw a rabbit who had been given to a vet to be put down because his owners were going on vacation. WTF!! People like that should be reported to the police on the spot, IMO ... and there should be a national database where their names should be registered, so that if they tried to buy a new pet from a breeder or a pet store, they would be seen to be blacklisted. Fuck 'em. >:-( There were also cats with awful stories, like one that had been thrown out of a fourth story window ... !! Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with people. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be human.

Here are some pictures, anyway.

A lovely peaceful place ...

This guy wasn't friendly, but he was OK with being admired from a distance.

But this fellow was very friendly! His name is Bamse ('teddy'), he is 14 or 15 years old and he loved getting cuddles. As you see. :-)

There were also a number of quite young cats, these were of course beyond adorable.

I guess they aren't used to quite so many people at once. Many in the main enclosure relaxed or even slept, but some were very alert ... and some dreamed of escape. :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Thanks to Swap-Botter wackywallflower who shared this quote with me. :-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Elephant postcards

I love elephants, I think they're the most amazing animals. They're just so fantastic in so many ways. One of my dreams is to go to South Africa and go on safari in the Kruger Park. :-) Of course I've got elephants listed as one of the things I'm interested in on my Postcrossing profile, and hey, it really works. These are elephant postcards I've gotten through Postcrossing. This first one arrived yesterday, it's just the cutest thing ever. Oh, and the second one too. It shows a baby elephant that lives in Lisbon Zoo and has some info about the elephants there printed on the back. In Portuguese, but I actually managed to piece together most of it. :-)

These cards came from Finland, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany again, respectively.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do you get this?

If not, you need to get hold of this movie on DVD, stat. Then you will laugh like I did. Seriously, this has got to be the funniest thing I've ever seen on roflrazzi.com. I love it. :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our mendacious media

Is a lie by omission still truly a lie?

This may not be too important in the greater scheme of things, but I just have to say it - I am so sick and tired of how the media twists news stories so that we don't get the whole picture, and by doing so change, or at least try to change, our perception of reality. Because when you don't get all the facts, situation can't be seen for what they are.

Like this story. Swedish citizen seeks asylum in Denmark. Illustrated by two pictures obviously picked to be 'as Swedish as possible' ... ie to get the reader thinking of ethnic Swedes, real Swedes. In which case this story is pretty absurd, right? Swede seeking asylum in Denmark - that just sounds like one of the Swedish jokes that were so common when I was growing up (you don't seem to hear them these days, but maybe I just don't pay attention in the right places). My first thought was that he was one of these crazies who get in the media just because they do something totally out there and nuts ... like that couple who refused to work and just lived on welfare because they 'didn't enjoy working'. Now those were real Swedes. :-D Whatever happened to them? Anyway.

Of course, if you read the actual article, this story isn't about a Swede seeking asylum anywhere at all. The person in question has been a Swedish citizen since 1998. Ie, he is not Swedish, and never will be Swedish. Now he is seeking asylum in Denmark because he 'can't stand Swedes'. Shouldn't the headline actually have read Racist seeks asylum in Denmark?

He can't stand Swedes, but I guess he's managed to put up with their welfare system for over a decade. >:-(

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy birthday!!

Namely to C., my bestest friend in the whole world. :-) She is 34 years old today (and soon I will be too, so don't feel too bad ;-). C., I'm glad I got to say happy birthday in person before your cell phone died. I hope you've had a wonderful day and that you got lots of lovely presents ... frum the birdses.

I've got an adorable present from Ireland waiting for you, I hope I'll see you soon. :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't blink ...

... or you'll miss it. :-)

Now I want to see Speed again. But tell me one thing, how is this five seconds? Someone needs a new watch. A cheap gold watch after all those years of hard work ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Batty cuteness!

Remember the little bat I posted about, the one I 'met' at the cabin? Well, here's the video I promised. Is that little guy adorable or what?? :-) Look at his little face. Aw. :-) I mentioned that he threatened to bite me ... as you'll see, he probably wouldn't have been able to even if he'd tried, his mouth was just so tiny ... but you can really see his teeth in the video, he is soo cute flashing his fangs like that. He also made some squeaky noises at me, but I can't hear them on the video, so I guess the camera wasn't able to pick them up. They were very faint, I could barely hear them. But check out how fast he can move. :-o He sort of hooked himself along and just moved so fast, I was surprised. It was such a great experience getting so close to a bat. It's the first time I've seen one of them that close. In the past when I have seen them that is all I've done, seen them. I have never been able to touch and hold one like this. I was so happy to get the chance to do that. He wasn't very happy about it, as you can see from the video, but at least he got to be out of the cold and wet for a little while. :-)

After the video :-) I picked him up again and carried him around the house to a woodpile on the old veranda. I let him crawl in among the stacked wood, that way he would be out of the wind. When I checked a couple of hours later, he had flown away. :-)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quote of the Week

For what DNA literacy if we have extinguished the books?
Daniel H. Janzen

From today's road trip to the Nordic Ark. Baby Southern Pudu, cutest thing ever!! :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby porcupine ... !!

And it's eating a banana! And has the hiccups! Awww ... !!!

I was going to write something serious today, but then I found this, look:

Double aww ... !! This little guy was apparently orphaned because of a traffic accident and was fostered by a wildlife rehabilitator. The video's a couple of years old. Now he's grown and lives here, or so I've heard. :-) You can see a few more videos on this channel ... scroll down, they're the oldest uploads. :-)

Aw, baby porcupine ... !! :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More ATCs

Some more ATCs that I've made recently. I've made fewer in the past month or so, because I've been travelling. But still, a couple of good ones, IMHO. :-)

The theme for this first one was 'Fit For A King', so I made a portrait of our Crown Princess, HRH Mette-Marit. She is certainly fit for a king, she will be the wife of one some day. ;-) This ATC hasn't been sent to its recipient yet, I'm really psyched to hear what she'll think of it. I hope she'll like it. :-)

Joss Whedon - Angel

True Blood - Sookie Stackhouse Johnny Depp movie character -
Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the Master, season 1 villain

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer memories

I've uploaded some of my videos from this summer to my Youtube channel already, but there's lots more to come. A lot from Ireland, obviously. :-) Also quite a few from the mountains. One of them is totally adorable, I was soo psyched to get that footage. Or have that experience, I should say, I guess. I knew I was in for a treat when my father came into the living room (where we spend most of our indoors time when we're at the cabin) and said to my mother, Honey, don't go in the washroom, there's a bat in the sink. :-D

Was that little guy adorable or what?? But that video's still on the list of upcoming attractions. I'll post it here when it's done. Aw, he was such a cutie. He tried to threaten me by showing me his tiny tiny tiny teeth and squeaking at me. Aww. I want a pet bat ... :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Look who's in Beijing

I want to go back to Beijing. ;-) Seriously, I do. It's been what, six years since I was there? Sheesh, time flies. I wonder how it's changed. A lot, I'm sure. Goodbye hutongs and welcome highrises. You can't stop progress?

I wonder if anyone can tell me where that last quote is from ... ? :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I love the internet.

Seriously, the internet rocks. Anne Ida and I went to see Shrek Forever After last night - it was much better than we thought it would be - and seeing it made me wonder something irrelevant and insignificant. Why is Shrek Scottish? Now, seeing as I don't know Mike Myers and never will, without the internet, how would I ever have found out such a thing? It could have cost me a fortune in fan magazines trying to find an interview where he talks about that. ;-) But Google is my friend and now I know. Ah, internet, what would we do without you??

Friday, August 6, 2010

Visit scenic Hardanger ...

... before it's too late.

I guess I'm not surprising anyone who knows me by saying that I am totally against the proposed power lines in Hardanger. And I guess I shouldn't be using the word 'proposed' - the government seems to consider it a done deal. Polls showing that 77% of the population oppose the project supposedly don't faze them. Well, we'll see come election time. (There will be local and regional elections in Norway next year.) The thought of voting is very confusing to me right now. I don't know who I can vote for at this point. Labor is my usual choice, but as things stand now they are not an option for me. I can't swallow this. Center is out, I think, probably. And the Socialist Left, WTF? They are against the project but they voted in favor of it, because it's going to happen anyway ... ? Ever hear of principles?? o_O

So that makes it tricky, because what are the options? Erna Solberg was in the news today bitching about how the government is forcing this down our collective throats and it's all so wrong and bad. But how would she be different if she were PM?? Wouldn't she, as her party traditionally is so wont to do, care even more about industry and jobs and even less about the environment than the current government does? I am not convinced that having the blues in power would make anything different on this issue whatsoever.

But what might make a difference - and not just on this issue, but generally - would be if our politicians would actually be honest with us and tell us what's really going on here. They're going on about Bergen, Bergen, Bergen ... we need to ensure the power supply to Bergen, it's all about Bergen. But no, it's not! If it were only Bergen and its hinterland and the power supply to that area, I'm not at all convinced that we would need to upgrade anything at all. The fact is that it's the offshore industry in the North Sea that needs all this power. It is so unfair that Bergen is getting the blame for this, metaphorically speaking. This is about more cheap subsidised power to the offshore industry ... which has to cut its emissions, so they're switching over from gas to electricity. Then they sell the gas to the continent where it's burned anyway and emissions don't go down at all ... ! but it looks like they're cut here, which is what the government cares about. OK, it's too much to hope for that politicians would tell the truth about something like that last part ... but again, they're blaming the city of Bergen and its inhabitants in a really shitty way. If I was from Bergen, I would be really pissed right now.

And if I was from Hardanger, then whew ... !! Sure, the photo in this post is probably exaggerated to some degree. But the principle of the thing is the same. How can we be thinking of ruining this absolute treasure of natural beauty that doesn't just belong to us, but to future generations too? The power lines are the cheapest option, they keep saying, undersea cables would be 'too expensive' - but how can we put a price on Hardanger, which isn't just one of the most beautiful places in this country, but in the whole world?? How do you put a price tag on that? I know how to lower the price, at least. Work has been going on behind the scenes for quite a while now trying to get Hardanger on the UNESCO World Heritage list. That would bring the number of tourists to the area up, no question, and this would mean increased revenues. But guess what - put up those masts and that ain't never gonna happen. Ever. >:-(

What's so interesting is that Statnett is saying, in an annoying chorus with the government, that the masts are the best option - it's a total coincidence that it's also the cheapest, it really is the best! - and that undersea cables would be too expensive, too difficult to put in place, too tricky to maintain. But if we can't afford to keep these eyesores out of Hardanger, then I really have to question our spending habits. There's a lot of other shit we shouldn't be able to afford, if that were true. In this case it's not about what we can spend, it's about what we want to spend. And as for the rest, Statnett may find it too difficult, but Nexans Norway is the absolutely best in the world at this kind of thing, and they don't think it would be too difficult. They think it would be a challenge, but absolutely not too difficult. And why not give them a challenge?? Why not use this as an opportunity to expand our limits, use the technology of the future, not that of the past??

And why not have the real debate, the one that we should be having and that discussions like these are always drowning out. I heard one pro-power masts person say that we just have to do this, if we're going to keep up our current consumption level. So, discussion over as far as he was concerned. But if you ask me, that's just where the debate ought to really start.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Irish grafitti

I spotted some cool & fun wall art while traipsing around Ireland last week. Of course I took pictures. Check out the last one, it's awesome. ;-)

Oh, but don't forget:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's so weird ...

... to be back home. I always feel like that. At first when I get home it's just like ... whut? o_O What am I doing back here again? But then that passes and it's the opposite, it's not strange at all to be at home, it almost feels like I've been here all along and it's my time away that starts to feel strange. It comes to feel so distant ... it starts feeling unreal that I was ever in that place at all. Was I really in China two days ago? Or in Egypt? Or in this case, in Ireland? By now it's almost hard to credit. But I do have my, get this, more than 4600 photos to remind me ... !! :-o

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I love taking pictures of animals. Wild ones especially, when I get the chance to. The most challenging ones are insects, for obvious reasons. I'm so happy whenever I get a good shot of one. I treasure them. :-) Here are a few from this summer. Mostly from Rondane, but also a couple from Ireland (the last two).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Home again

I got back home at around five this afternoon. The little guys were ecstatic and Raphael freaked out. That's the way it goes. :-)