Sunday, July 31, 2011

Books I've read in 2011 - July

Mr Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds
Stolthet og fordom by Jane Austen - AUDIO
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
The Wave by Todd Strasser
A Short History ... ? by ??
Matched by Ally Condie - AUDIO
Aske by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Noen vet by Trude Teige - AUDIO
Når ein først skal skyte nokon by Arnfinn Kolerud
Overtalelse by Jane Austen - AUDIO
En opritsjniks dagbok by Vladimir Sorokin
MGP by Magne Hovden
When Languages Die by K David Harrison
Borgermesteren by Thomas Hardy - AUDIO
Great Classic Suspense by various authors ...
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Kameliadamen by Alexandre Dumas

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nordens Ark, extended edition

Time for the annual road trip to the Nordic Ark. We are psyched!! All the more so since we're making it a weekend trip this time ... one day at the Ark, that'll be Sunday, but before then Havets hus in Lysekil, seal safari included. Yay. We'll be staying the night at the Ark's own hotel. It's a pretty good deal. More later, no doubt. :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Same, but better

Does anyone remember this blog post - pictures I posted back in March of an unfortunate situation where someone had left a bike locked to a rain gutter, but had left it there rather too long? Bike having become partially enclosed by ice? Well, here's the same thing again, but so much prettier. Bike left locked to a lamppost by the cathedral ... now become partially enclosed by the sea of flowers surrounding the building in memory of the July 22nd victims.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Overheard on the bus

Yesterday morning on the bus I sat behind these two random strangers and overheard something really weird. It was this girl, or young woman ... she was talking to a guy sitting next to her, they obviously knew each other. I figured they were colleagues since he seemed to be older than her ... too much older for them to be like classmates. But whatever. They were talking about someone the girl knew who apparently acted like a total ass on Friday, after the attacks.

I didn't catch the entire conversation, I was trying not to listen ... but she was talking so loudly that it was hard to miss, plus like I said I was sitting right behind them. She said that this other girl, along with a bunch of other people, had been to a bar or someplace like that on Friday night, and they had been really loud - in a party-party way - so much so that they had been told off several times by other people there who couldn't hear the news over the noise they were making. I know, right? I was totally with the girl on the bus, that is way out of order. o_O The guy totally agreed too. But then she says this, about the other girl:

She has like zero national feeling because of that Jehova's Witness thing. She's always like, we only get one chance at life.

Wait, what?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Better or worse?

So, a bomb outside the Government Buildings in Oslo this afternoon, and a shooting spree at Utøya (for many years the site of the annual summer camp for the youth division of our powerful Labor Party). Seven dead downtown, ten so far at Utøya, although police think this latter number will rise as they search the island more thoroughly. Worst disaster in this country since WWII and our first experience with terrorism at home.

I wasn't surprised by the bombing ... sounds cynical, but seriously, it was only a matter of time. Those of you who think anything else are kidding yourselves. In a kind of creepy way we should be happy it was at the Government Buildings rather than somewhere more picturesque, like Parliament. That's a building worth keeping, unlike what was destroyed today. Yes, of course the loss of life is tragic, I'm not saying it's not. But people would have died in any attack on the Parliament building too, and it's far more valuable than almost any other building in town. So ... it can always be worse, is what I'm saying. But where was I.

We had to have something like this in Oslo sooner or later, so this wasn't a major surprise. Weird to see such familiar places on TV in such a setting ... I go by there pretty often on my way to the library. I was on my way out of the city when the bomb went off, I heard the blast, but didn't know what it was, no one on the bus was worried. I only heard that it was a bomb later. The shocking part of this, for me, is the attack against Utøya. An island, chock full of naive teenagers. You've got to be pretty scummy to go after a place like that. I did not see that one coming. A nasty surprise.

Another surprise is that the brain behind these events - and a clever brain it must be, because this has been long in the planning - seems to be our very own homegrown Timothy McVeigh. (Name to be released, or if not, leaked, before long, no doubt.) Of course we Norwegians produce our share of criminals and crazies too - yet another reason why we have no need to be importing more of them - and I'm sure it's just because I'm such a racist bigot that I was surprised by this. My instant thought was that this must have been the work, if that's the word I want, of some bunch of crazy Islamists. What with our soldiers in Afghanistan, our bombers in Libya, those pesky cartoons being printed and reprinted and now Najumuddin Faraj Ahmad being brought up on charges, and only this week too ... these all seem to provide plenty of reason to dislike us filthy pork-eating infidels. But that reaction was clearly in very bad taste, I don't know what I was thinking. Where do I get these crazy ideas?? Clearly out of thin air. In the future I must curb my racist thoughts better.

Seriously, forget about Afghanistan and all that crap - as the events of the evening have unfolded I think the entire scenario has changed completely. I don't think this was an attack against Norway, the Norwegian state or the Norwegian people at all. I think it was an attack directed at the Labor Party. As crazy as that sounds. It's Utøya that's the sticking point here. Who attacks Utøya?? Seriously, if you don't have some nasty beef with Labor, how would you even start getting ideas about Utøya? I'm thinking that this is a guy who has taken in a little too much of the hate-filled rhetoric of the current government's grassroots opposition, and decided to do something about it. Which means that immigration is extremely likely to have been a major factor in this anyway. Gods, I'm tired of hearing about immigration. But I'll have to keep hearing about it till I die.

So that's my theory. Unhinged but intelligent man with a serious grudge against Labor and its many members. (I don't know where I ever could have gotten this insane idea that Muslims might have been involved, it's shameful. But don't worry, I'm sure it was just me thinking that.) We already have a serial killer (who I actually met once, but that's another blog post), now we have a mass murderer too. We're catching up with our friends. I'm not sure if it's better or worse this way, though. If your daughter is brutally murdered, is it worse if it turns out it was your nephew who did it, rather than some random stranger she met at a bar? Or is it better? I hardly know which to choose.

In closing, I'd like to say to Lars Helle, editor in chief of Dagbladet: FUCK YOU. You have some goddamn nerve. YOUR newspaper takes it upon itself to warn the rest of us against 'judging prematurely and spreading rumors'?? FUCK YOU. If I was Erik Schjenken right now and I read that piece of garbage that you probably think of as an interview, I might be inspired to plant a little bomb of my own. You make me sick.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elephant birthday

I've mentioned the baby elephants in Sydney's Taronga Zoo before ... one of them is the miracle baby who survived an almost impossible birth about a year and a half ago. They have one calf who is older as well, plus one younger. The former was the first elephant to ever be born in Australia, on July 4th, 2009, exactly three years to the day after the herd arrived in their new home. His name is Luk Chai, and he weighed 96 kilos as a newborn - at age two, this month, he's grown to over 800 kilos. :-D His father, Gung, whom he apparently bears a strong resemblance to, is well on his way to four metric tons, so Luk Chai still has some growing to do. o_O Check out this video showing the birthday boy with his family ... look at him with his cousin, Pathi Harn - the miracle baby - they are just so wonderful together. :-)

Fullscreen here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Awesome Austrian

I know, there's that word again ... I really try to avoid using that word. It's one of the most overwhelmingly overused words in the English language, hands down. Using it so much devalues the meaning of it, and what can take its place? I mean, if the brownie you just had was awesome, then what word do you then use to describe the Grand Canyon? But I'm giving myself a pass this once ... because of the alliteration. :-)

The awesome Austrian in question is one Niko Alm, who is now my hero. He rocks. He is an atheist and he thinks that it's annoying how theists get away with breaking the rules because 'it's their religion'. On a side note, SO many people don't understand what discrimination is. Oh, I can't wear my [crazy shit that god wants me to wear] in whatever situation I want to, I'm being discriminated against, boo hoo! Discrimination is when one group of people are forced to conform to a separate set of rules that don't apply to others, and there is no biological necessity for it. When you're being required to follow the same rules that everybody else has to follow, then what you are experiencing is not discrimination. It is in fact the exact opposite of discrimination. Get a dictionary, people. But where was I.

Oh yeah. Mr Alm apparently thinks that it's not right that people can wear headgear in their driver's licence photo if it's for religious reasons, but otherwise they can't. A very sensible stance for him to take. But he decided to take it one step further. When applying for his driver's licence, he demanded to be allowed to wear a pasta strainer on his head. For religious reasons. He's a pastafarian. He rocks. :-D

An article about Niko here and his blog here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A learning experience

Even turtles can have them.

Kinda crappy weather during the day today, but it cleared up towards the afternoon, so that by the time I got home it was actually really nice. I decided to take the guys out ... first time they've been out since Raphael's big scare on Saturday. Of course I was determined to keep an extremely close eye on them all. :-) But I was most of all really interested to see how Raphael would react. Does he remember anything of what happened or has he forgotten it already?

These are relatively primitive animals, with pretty simple brains, so I wouldn't have been surprised if it hadn't made any noticeable impact on him. But he definitely remembers. This little road that is almost just a footpath runs alongside the lawn on two sides. Normally Raphael mostly walks towards one of these two stretches of ... road, or whatever. The one by our building he wants to get across to burrow underneath these bushes that I mentioned. The other one he also wants to cross, mostly to get to a tall hedge that is on the far side of another bit of lawn there. Also to burrow underneath it. He likes to burrow underneath things. :-)

Normally I can't keep him away from these places ... he keeps going there and I'm always having to go bring him back from there. And when I let him go again he immediately heads back again. :-D Usually when I let them out of the cage I have to bring him back from one of these two directions in just a few minutes' time. But not today. It was really weird - I've never seen him act like that before. He stayed away from the footpaths almost completely. Instead of going there, he mostly went up to the tennis court (not as impressive as it sounds) and underneath the big wheeled trash cans that the janitors keep there for garden waste. He normally has little to no interest in going there at all. But today, he hardly wanted to go anywhere else. He did walk around on the lawn as well, but only on the parts of it that are 'away' from the footpath. It took him one hour to finally pick one of his normal routes towards the bushes by our building. I've never seen him act like that before. He specifically steered away from these places where he normally always goes ... but where this really scary thing also happened.

I actually hadn't really expected him to remember. But he does surprise me sometimes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy birthday to Madiba!!

93 years old today. There's no one in the world I admire more.

Immortality as an option for actual human beings is something I am profoundly opposed to, but I wish this man would never leave us. :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One inch from death

No, not me, but Raphael. He almost got run over by a car yesterday. I was so scared ... ! and I was so upset too, because I always keep such a close eye on them, and then when I didn't for just a few moments he was almost killed. I would never have forgiven myself. :-(

The weather was fantastic yesterday (unlike today, so I am glad that we went out, all things considered) so I took the guys out to hang on the lawn for a while. I was going out, so we couldn't stay however long we felt like it, I had to watch the clock. When it got to be so late that we really needed to get back in, I did what I usually do, put all my stuff back in the bag and gather up the little fellows and get them into the travel cage. I usually pick up Raphael last, partly because he's usually the furthest away from me (longer legs cover more distance :-) and partly because he hates being in the cage so much that I try to avoid making him stay in it any more than he absolutely has to. So, the usual routine.

I put all my things in the bag and looked around for Raphael. He was on the lawn, walking towards some bushes that are up against the side of our building - he really loves these bushes for some reason and is very often trying to go over to them and burrow in underneath them. To get to them he has to cross a narrow ... it's not even a road, it's really just for pedestrians and cyclists, but every so often there will be a car there, when someone needs to drive all the way up to somebody's front door for whatever reason. When I looked for him I didn't see a car, but there was one, coming along the front of our building. This tiny road is so narrow that there's only just room for one car. But I didn't see anything, and he wasn't that close to the road anyway. But he is soo fast ... !

I turned away to get the little guys, got Henrik first and then Herman and put them in the cage. Picked it all up and started to walk towards Raphael. That's when I noticed the car, it had just turned the corner ... and that's also when I realized, in the same split second, just how far Raphael had gotten - almost out into the road. And he just kept moving. I was so scared ... !! He was too far away for me to reach him before the car would have already passed him. I just ran over there, and every second I expected to hear some awful crunching sound from his shell being run over and smashed. It was such a horrible feeling ... !!!

But he was fine - the car missed him, but it really can't have been by more than a couple of centimeters. I could hardly believe what a lucky escape he had. Of course he was really scared too ... but I think just as much by me as by the car. :-) He was frightened by the car - this was the closest he's ever been to a moving car except the few times he's been inside one - but then I scared him just as much by running over to him and snatching him up and turning him any which way to see if he was alright, touching his head all over, examining his feet and pulling his front legs out to see if he'd been hurt anywhere. But no, nothing. Not a scratch.

It didn't take long to calm him down either, so he really got away entirely scot free. But I was really shaken. Just a few centimeters and ... oh, I don't even want to think about it. I would seriously never ever have forgiven myself. My little grouch. :-) Next time maybe he will have to go in the cage first after all. :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cary Fukunaga: Jane Eyre

Just got back from seeing the latest adaptation of this timeless classic ... which, if published today, would probably be derided as overly dramatic and lacking in credibility. A crazy wife hidden away in the attic, who'd buy that? ;-) That's beyond clichéd ... but of course, the reason it's such a cliché is precisely this book.

As for this adaptation, I liked it a lot ... I'm not entirely sure I see the need for it, I rather think that the TV version from five years ago is pretty definitive. But this was also really good. Excellent acting from everyone involved, a good script, fantastic hair and wardrobe, well chosen settings. Although of course very dreary - every single place Jane lives in is grey and drab and somewhere way out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe a little overkill on that score.

The screenplay is laid out in a slightly untraditional manner, starting with Jane running away from Thornfield and then telling the story in flashbacks from there. Yeah, that sounds kind of annoying, but it actually works really well. The early parts of the story are very sparse, just the bare bones of Jane's experiences, to the extent that it almost made me think that the screenwriter has intended this version primarily for those already familiar with the novel. But that's hard for me to say since I have read the book.

As I said, the actors are very good ... and we all really loved the fact that this version has been cast with mostly no big names. Judi Dench as Mrs Fairfax is the only famous face, and she is of course just perfect. Michael Fassbender, who I know by name but don't think I've ever seen in anything before, is a little too good looking to be the perfect Mr Rochester (that honor would have to go to Toby Stephens ;-) but he acted the part pretty much flawlessly. Jane herself is also extremely well played, except that I was a little distracted by the incredible familiarity of this actress that I thought I'd never seen before. Her name, Mia Wasikowska, is one I absolutely didn't recognize. I couldn't tell if I had seen her in something before or whether I just thought I had because of her extreme resemblance to a young Claire Danes. Tanumine and Findabair thought it must have been the latter, since they couldn't remember seeing her in anything either. But it was in fact the former; she played the daughter in The Kids Are All Right and Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. So of course I had seen her. I have to say it's a tribute to her talent that we couldn't bring either of these previous roles to mind while seeing her as Jane. :-)

Hair and especially wardrobe are really fantastic in this movie - I love the way they've managed to make everything, especially the women's clothing, just as cumbersome and unbecoming as it must have been. Because of all the underskirts, all the actresses look pregnant all the time. :-) And what a joy it must have been to play badminton in stays and an ankle length skirt. Those were the days. Beautifully, if that's the word I want, recreated here.

All in all great results of a fundamentally pointless exercise. The world didn't need another Jane Eyre, but this is very well worth watching.

What we really need is a movie version of Jenna Starborn. ;-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quote of the Week

They will also tell you how far along we are along the depletion curve; the optimists among them will even claim that there is nothing to worry about, because we have two or three decades of production left at the current level. It is to be expected that we will run out of fossil fuels before we run out of optimists, who are, along with fools and madmen, a renewable resource.
Dmitry Orlov

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy 6th to Postcrossing! is six years old today. We're closing in on the eight millionth postcard. Wow!! I try to avoid using this word, but that is absolutely awesome. :-)

I've gotten a bunch of really cool cards this month, but I have to say that this one is my favorite. An absolutely fantastic postcard, sent to me from Pontian in Malaysia. Wow. Postcrossing rocks. :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Velkommen til meningsdiktaturet

Det er mye en skal høre før øra detter av ... eller lese før øya ramler ut, kanskje? Det er vel kjent for de fleste at det er begrenset hva man har lov til å mene i dette landet, og særlig om visse emner. Jeg er ikke prinsipielt imot sanksjoner på uttrykte meninger - det regner jeg med at de fleste har skjønt som har lest litt her ;-) - jeg synes det er rett og viktig at vi nettopp har muligheten til å sanksjonere mot dem som går seg helt ut på de metaforiske viddene. Men slik grensene er satt nå er de alt for snevre.

Vi har det allikevel veldig bra her i forhold til hvor innskrenka det har blitt i Sverige, dessverre.

Men vi har et ganske påtakelig meningsdiktatur her på berget også. Som altså hviler spesielt tungt over visse emner, og tildels ødelegger debatten om disse. Innvandring og religion er vel de to mest åpenbare eksemplene. Lenge var det ikke mulig å diskutere innvandring ordentlig, man ble jo kalt rasist og nazist ved den minste provokasjon. Dette er heldigvis i ferd med å bedre seg, det er faktisk mye bedre allerede. Nazistempelet går snart tørt for blekk. :-) Men vi er ikke på helt trygg grunn ennå. (Apropos å gå seg ut på metaforiske vidder ... o_O)

Noen ganger blir dette ekstremt tydelig. Noen ganger sier folk det faktisk bare rett ut. Les dette debattinnlegget. WTF? Jeg må sitere litt.

I ingressen påpekes det at det er blitt stuerent å snakke negativt om islam. Javel, og hva så? Det bør da for faen være 'stuerent' å snakke negativt om ALT. Hvis det er noe negativt ved et eller annet i den virkelige verden, så må man da pokker kunne si det høyt. Det skulle bare mangle. Men verre skal det bli.

Skribenten, som er en eller annen jusstudent jeg aldri har hørt om, skriver litt om innvandringsbarometeret for 2010 og at det er kjipe tilstander i Europa for tiden, og dette gjør at nye grupperinger har fått tilslutning hos folket. Så kommer det:

At nye partier blomstrer som følge av usikkerhet blant folk flest, er ikke nødvendigvis negativt. For eksempel har det økende frykten for klimaødeleggelser medført oppblomstring av grønne partier. Dette er grupperinger som i utgangspunktet har vært små, men som gjennom det økte fokuset på miljø har tiltrukket seg tilhengere. Miljøpartiene har nå blitt en betydningsfull aktør på den politiske arenaen i Europa.

Men også andre bevegelser har klart å utnytte tomrommet, partier som klarer å profitere på den økte misnøyen mot innvandring og muslimer. I Sverige har Sverigedemokraterna for første gang passert sperregrensen og kommet inn i Riksdagen. I Nederland er frihetspartiet til Geert Wilders blitt landets tredje største, mens det mørkeblå Sveitsiske Folkepartiet oppnådde 29 prosent av stemmene ved siste valg.

Nei, som sagt, velkommen til meningsdiktaturet. Det politiske landskapet endrer seg, og det er positivt så lenge folk mener det rette. Det er derimot ikke bra at folk forandrer mening hvis de nye meningene deres er de gale meningene. Og så avslutter fyren fordundre meg med å skryte av demokratiet ved å påstå at visse typer meninger bør undertrykkes.

Man skal virkelig høre mye ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Money for nothing

Anyone else seen these around downtown? I wonder if it's an art installation. Maybe they're trying to say something scathing about our capitalist system and fundamentally flawed economy. But I wonder who paid for the copier and/or printer that they've used.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Malcolm Venville: Henry's Crime

So, I did finally get around to watching Henry's Crime. It was worth waiting for. :-) I really wish I could have seen it on a theater screen, but what are you gonna do. It's not too late, I guess. But it's in any case a low key movie with few special effects and it works really well on a TV screen too.

Brief recap of the story: Our hero, Henry, is a man with no momentum who works the most boring job in the universe but doesn't mind. His wife wants them to start a family, but he resists ... or actually that's not fair to say either. He just has zero forward momentum. Every day is the same dull routine and he has no drive to change that. He's also not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, and one day is dragged into a rather unfortunate event by some of his so-called friends. They rob a bank and leave him to take the fall. He ends up in jail and his wife leaves him. But he does make a friend in the big house - professional con man Max, very well played by James Caan. When he's released, he's determined to take charge of his life and not just drift aimlessly like he did before ... and what better way to start than by actually doing what he already served time for, ie, robbing the bank. He comes up with a clever plan and with a little help, mainly from Max, starts putting thought into action. Of course there's a love interest, the always charming Vera Farmiga, she is one of the highlights of the movie. Henry's plan moves forwards, kind of in fits and starts, but definitely forwards ... but can it really work? And even if it does, is robbing the bank really what he wants?

Henry's Crime is a comedy in one sense, it's definitely funny, and it can't help but be funny, because the premise and the whole story is really so absurd. You gotta laugh. :-) But at the same time it's also very sad. The title character is a pretty depressing fellow. He's a pretty good image, actually, of the alienation in the modern world. His life has no meaning, and he doesn't know how to inject meaning into it. And he can't really attempt to find out how, because even if he had the drive to do so, he needs the job and he needs the house and the car and the stuff ... so he's stuck. Going to jail is the best thing that could happen to him. :-)

So ... absurdly funny, but also sad. A little depressing to see how all the colors were so drab, nothing bright anywhere. Interesting the way they used Chekhov and his play The Cherry Orchard almost as props within the movie. The script is very good, and I thought it was mostly well acted ... there are a couple of supporting characters that I felt were rather one-dimensional, but they weren't in the movie much, so it wasn't much of a problem. I think Keanu did a very good job, which wasn't surprising as this is exactly the kind of role that works for him, a low key movie which he doesn't have to carry, but is more part of an ensemble where he doesn't have to lead the pack the whole way. So to speak. I hope that makes sense. :-) Caan and Farmiga were both excellent too. And the interplay between Henry and Max was worth seeing the movie for. :-)

Overall I really liked this movie, and Anne Ida did too ... on its own terms, it's a good movie and well worth watching. Not for the action fans. But for the rest of us. :-)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Same all over

I love it when I see behavior in the animal kingdom that might as well be our own species. We're all animals. :-)

Funny Pictures - Chimpanzee Gifs

From ICHC, here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If I met Richard Dawkins ...

... I would ask him if he thinks that it's OK for me to kick my dog - I mean, not just on a whim, but as punishment, like when I see it biting a shoe or something - because my neighbor smacks his kids upside the head when they talk back to him. I assume he thinks it's not a problem that I kick my dog. Cause hitting your kids is way worse, so I get a pass, right?

I can only assume that Mr Dawkins would be on my side in this.

Back to the real world where normal people live: I really cannot understand people who use this type of argument. Seriously. If you genuinely use this as a rule to live by - Y is worse than X, therefore we cannot/should not discuss/focus on/attempt to change X. How do these people function? How do they manage to function in their daily lives? I don't get it.

No, I tell a lie ... of course I do get it. The fact of the matter is that these people - such as Richard Dawkins, sadly - do not believe in this argument. They do not believe that this is a good way to live. I know this because if they did believe it, and if they did live their lives like that, then they seriously couldn't function in any kind of normal capacity. So they don't believe the argument. They're just using it to make someone shut up.

I find this both hypocritical and pathetic.

But of course, I shouldn't complain about this, because somewhere in Azerbaijan right now there's probably a journalist being beaten up for saying that President Aliyev doesn't really have superpowers.

Silly me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can you guess what this is?

It'll be interesting to see if anyone will comment here with the correct info about what this is.

Yes, it's a pair. They belong together. Can't have just one of these.

For scale, here's one of them in my hand.

They belong to my uncle, they're souvenirs of his adventurous youth far from home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Things Only Idiots Believe, Part 11

That anyone can prove that they are descended from King Harald I Halvdansson, called Fairhair, first king of Norway (872-930).

Or indeed from anyone who lived at any time in pre-Christian and early Christian Norway.

If you think that proving such a provenance is even theoretically possible, then you are an idiot and you need to do a lot of reading. And it doesn't matter if you have the paperwork to prove it. If you do, then you really are an absolutely enormous idiot.

(This applies to idiots who are Norwegian or of Norwegian ancestry, of which there is sadly no shortage.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

News I like to hear

Don't know if you've seen this fun little news story yet, but if not, check it out. The most relevant parts:

Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike's handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.
[The motorcyclist] was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing helmets.
Troopers say Contos hit his brakes and the motorcycle fishtailed. The bike spun out of control, and Contos toppled over the handlebars. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.

This is going to sound bad, but this is exactly the kind of news I like to hear. Isn't it perfect? Helmetless man dies in motorbike accident while protesting helmet law. Gotta love it. I don't believe in karma, but if there was such a thing, this would be it. The universe creating its own symmetry.

Sure, I'm a mean cow, but what do you expect? It's like when people think that I think that base jumpers 'deserve' to die. Of course they don't. 'Deserve' doesn't come into it. It's just that being crushed into a bloody pulp against the side of a mountain is the natural consequence of jumping off a cliff. That's just how it is. When you drop a rock, it falls down. It's the nature of things. This is the same kind of thing.

Jerry Seinfeld said something great about this. He agrees with me - he doesn't see the loss when people die in accidents like these. Any kind of motorbike accident where the driver isn't wearing a helmet. That is really not a loss to humanity. This is a brain that is so stupid that it doesn't even try to prevent the cracking of the skull that it's in.

Gotta love it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun with friends

Board game night at Calyx and N.'s tonight. N. won Colosseum and was pretty happy with himself. (Calyx wasn't super impressed. ;-)

But it was actually kind of impressive, because he actually won even though he only expanded his arena once, and the rest of us all expanded ours fully. He got really lucky with his first two event programs. He was able to stay in the lead throughout the whole game, so he kept collecting podiums, and of course they stack, so that was really good for his tally of victory points too. This does make perfect sense if you know how to play this game, I promise. ;-)

Check out his arena in the final round ... !! :-D

(We have a house rule about moving the nobles, so it isn't as crazy as it looks. ;-)

In Carcassonne, Calyx managed to build a heart-shaped city totally by accident. Isn't it pretty. :-) If you ignore the ... growth on the side there. That looks unhealthy, but it was fantastic for my little green farmer. :-)

Calyx and N. are the parents of my honorary niece, K. Since she's too little to understand about the internet, I haven't posted any pictures of her on the blog. But today I just took soo many great pictures of her that I can't help myself, I have to share one.

She is absolutely totally adorable, I promise. It just doesn't really show in this photo. But she is absolutely super cute. ;-)

Friday, July 1, 2011


I know, I know ... seriously the last thing I need is another mp3 player. But I SO want this ... !! It's the latest Zen release from Creative. It's tiny and it has a touchscreen and bluetooth. Not sure what the hell I want with bluetooth. And I really seriously don't need another player. But, but ... look ... !

WANT ... !!!