Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Books read in 2012 - January

Dronningens fiende, volume one by Alexandre Dumas
The City and the City by China Mieville – AUDIO
Det synger i gresset by Doris Lessing – AUDIO
Aldri alene by Lori Lansens
Kadaverdoktoren by Lene Kaaberbøl – AUDIO
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
Enken by Gil Adamson – AUDIO
Et selsomt paradis by Terri Jentz
Monster by Knut Nærum – AUDIO
Honningkrukken by Gert Nygårdshaug
Mashallah – en reise blant kvinner i Pakistan by Hege Storhaug
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Spilt blod by Åsa Larsson – AUDIO
Alle mine triste horer by Gabriel García Márquez
Alle tiders torsdag by John Steinbeck – AUDIO
Vanunu – hans kamp og kampen for ham by Fredrik S Heffermehl

10 printed books, 2,815 pages
7 audiobooks, 65h 26m

Monday, January 30, 2012

'Side by Side'

A very interesting documentary that will be released before too long. On the differences between and coexistence of 'real' film and digital, by and with Keanu Reeves. The list of major names he's talked to is ... wow. This will be pretty unmissable for anyone interested in the world of American movies. Here's the trailer.

Side by Side Official Trailer (2012) from Company Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My wish for Aisha and Leyla

I've been following the debate recently surrounding the two young supposedly Norwegian women Aisha Shezadi and Leyla Hasic. Aisha has worn the niqab for a while and Leyla has taken it up very recently, apparently after being picked on for wearing the hijab. I could say a lot about both of them - about Aisha traveling around on what is basically tax money lecturing school kids about her decision to segregate herself from normal society, and about Leyla's total lack of understanding of the concept of freedom of religion. But whatever. Let them wander around like the Ink Blot, let them wallow in their ignorance and let them think everybody's against them through no fault of their own. Let them support the Taliban and wish for sharia to their hearts' content.

But I have a wish for them too. I wish that Aisha and Leyla could get the chance to live the life that they dream of. I wish that Aisha and Leyla could spend some time - let's say ten years, that will give them enough time to really immerse themselves in the culture and learn it inside out - in Afghanistan. Let's say in Nuristan, that's probably the best area for them to go. The situation there is the closest to what they would like to see, AFAIK. I wish that Aisha and Leyla could get the chance to go there, stay there and live the life that is fit for a woman under their ideology. Then after those ten years, I wish they could come back here and tell us all just how great they really think that society is and just how it really is the best way to live for women.

This will of course never happen - both Aisha and Leyla will stay here and enjoy all the freedom and wealth of the West. They'd be crazy to do anything else. But a girl can dream.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ESC 2012: Norway, round two

Wheee ... !! :-D

No family members present (at least not any two-legged ones ;-) so liveblogging is on ... ! I love my pathetic life. :-D

There's very little by way of intros this year. Just straight on with the show. Larvik is hosting this round, their first time hosting. Marte Stokstad in a pretty cool dress, but she's standing funny. Huh. My mother ranted so much against Stokstad last Saturday, she must have prejudiced me against her without my noticing it ... o_O

Entry #1: Keeps On Dancing by Cocktail Slippers, performed by Cocktail Slippers. I've been looking forward to this entry. It makes me think about my dream of one day seeing Katzenjammer represent Norway in the ESC. ;-) Katzenjammer would be amazing. But these girls ... aren't quite on that level. I really like the chorus, but the verse is way too ... bland. Their performance could be more energetic, the song could be catchier, the singer's voice could be better, the whole thing could just have been a lot ... better. I like it, but I haz disappoint all the same. Fun with a girl band, but doesn't have the personality to be a big hit. Alas. So far the best entry though. ;-) I wouldn't be unhappy with this as our entry, but I'm pretty dang sure it doesn't have what it takes. I do like it that they've written their own entry though.

Entry #2: I've Got You by Thom Hell and Isabel Ødegård, performed by Isabel Ødegård. Again, good that the performer has at least participated in writing the song. Nice dress. A voice that's rather weak, but with personality. The song is very low key, the voice kind of makes the whole thing. The melody is sweet but this is probably too forgettable. The bridge is very good though. A charming and sweet entry. She's got the audience going, that's always good. But there's no real hook to the song and although the performance as a whole is good this would be forgotten too soon.

Entry #3: Make It Better by Hanne Sørvaag, Tommy Berre and Tommy Fredvang, performed by Tommy Fredvang. Kudos as above. Major pros he's collaborated with, so this song should be good. Unusual opening to the performance, is that a good sign? :-) Ooh! This is good! A very confident singer and a sudden rush of music, that can really work to make the audience remember the entry. His voice isn't necessarily very good, but certainly good enough for the ESC. ;-) He's good looking and that's usually at least as important. :-D The melody is catchy and the lyrics simple. We may be on to something here. Top of the list so far.

Entry #4: Another Heartache by Rikke Lie, Maria Marcus and Niclas Lundin, performed by Rikke Lie. Another singer-songwriter, that's a plus. But weird dress. The singer is playing the piano, that's unusual, may be a plus. The song itself ... meh. Nothing wrong with it, but I feel like I've forgotten it already. Pretty singer, not a strong voice, but again, with personality. Character, whatever. The song is way too bland and forgettable. And WTF is with the backing musicians??? The audience seems to love it but sheesh, what are they on? Totally doesn't mesh with the song's message ... or the melody for that matter. And why show us something that can't be used in Baku?? At least one thumb down for this entry, primarily on the performance.

Entry #5: Crush by Beyond 51, performed by Malin Reitan. A singer from the Junior ESC and a songwriting team that's already been represented in the real ESC (sorry, kids). By the extremely unpopular Haba haba, but still. I dig that song. :-) This one I've heard really bad things about though. What an outfit ... !! And again too many people on stage. Why do they do that?? In a way they're lying to the audience. There's no way we can get what we're voting for with these entries. >:-( I also don't like the silly dance moves, however many they are. >:-( A pretty girl, professional performance, but a very weak voice. Catchy song, but way too juvenile. I seriously hope this won't get anywhere, but she has a lot of fans - and of exactly the right voting age in these circumstances - so she may well get through. Not a big problem, Nora al-Jabri would crush her in the final. >:-) But seriously, this is total plastic. Let's not vote for this. Too American and way too plasticky.

Entry #6: Ola nordmann by Glen Hauger and Lars-Erik Blokkhus, performed by Plumbo. The song is written by two of the band members and they're singing in Norwegian, kudos for that. I really feel like sending a vote their way as a matter of principle. The song itself is ... pretty catchy, or at least the chorus is catchy. The verse, as usual, a little more bland. But not too bad. A bit of an international flavor to the entry too with the flute and what not. Not a winner, but certainly not bad. They deserve to get through if for no other reason than that they're the only ones tonight who are singing in their own language. o_O Also nice with some guys on stage, and something that kind of resembles rock. Not at all a bad entry that definitely stands a chance.

Entry #7: You And I by Minnie-Oh, performed by Minnie-Oh. Everyone's singing their own songs tonight! Some of them have designed their own costumes too, and it shows. Ouch. This isn't getting through. Kind of catchy, but a weak singer, annoying synthesized music, a repetitive melody. I seriously hope we won't have to hear this again. I doubt this will appeal to the masses. Unless of course the blacklight and crazy light effects will do the trick. Kind of fancy with the Kali arms but ... no. Nah. Let's not vote for this.

Entry #8: Shapeshifter by Silya Nymoen and Rikke Normann, performed by Rikke Normann. Again with too many people on stage. Sheesh. NRK, what are you thinking? Another weak singer who doesn't want to 'work' with anything other than music. Pretty catchy song, but what is the title supposed to mean? If anything? I'm not sure how the dancers' costumes tie into the song's ... message, if that's the word I mean. A messy entry that would need a lot of work if it were to win ... but it won't. Problem solved. :-D Nope, not a winner. So far tonight - or in fact this year - I can't begin to guess which of these songs could make it to Baku. Except Somewhere Beautiful, possibly. Well, we may well not have seen the winner yet at all. But this one definitely isn't it.

That's it ... !! I have to say that the lineup tonight is pretty even, but not strong. Alas. Gotta think a little bit how I'm going to vote here. :-) Can I just complain a little before I do that Per Sundnes is WAY too quick to grab the mike away from his interviewees?? He hardly ever lets them finish talking. What's up with that? Every time ...

OK, so, I've voted twice for Make It Better and once for Ola nordmann. In good conscience I can't vote for anyone else. And I hardly dare to venture a guess as to which three songs will make it through. Nothing stands out tonight, to be honest. Unusual.

And we're back. Voting is over and the results will be revealed. Again, I really can't hope to guess. Such a weird lineup tonight. I am torn. Obviously I hope that the two I voted for will get through. And I think they have a good chance. But I really don't know. Cocktail Slippers might be good too. They'd be fun and stand out a bit in the final, if nothing else. I just really hope that Crush doesn't get through, but I fear I'm in for a disappointment.

First entry through is ... Crush. Of course. Dagnabbit. I will be SO embarrassed if we send this to Baku. My only consolation is that she at least came in third. I really wasn't longing to hear this one more time.

Second place goes to ... Make It Better! Yay! This was definitely tonight's strongest entry. And I'll enjoy hearing it again, unlike ... well. This is something that could theoretically have a chance in Baku, so I'm glad my countrymen were sensible enough to vote for it. :-)

I really think Plumbo have what it takes to make it to the top at least on this level of the contest, so they may end up taking the last place in the final tonight. Ooh, the excitement ... !

And tonight's winner is ... the audience seems divided ... it's ... yup, Ola nordmann. Not really a major surprise. :-) Aw, they're so happy. Suck on that, antiracists. It'd be fun if they won the whole thing. We'd probably bomb in Baku (I'm tempted to say again :-) but who cares, we'd be sending something totally different yet again, and not at all a bad song. And the guys are soo happy. Aw. :-) A good time was had by all. :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Amazing elephant story

I read this amazing story somewhere online ages ago, but forgot to save the url, and then forgot where I'd found the article. I remember the story though, it's almost beyond amazing. I don't know what I'd give to have an experience like that. :-) Recently a friend wrote a blog post that got me thinking about it again. I've been digging around on Google tonight trying to find it. It took a while, but yay, success. :-) Here it is, you should go read it. If you love elephants half as much as I do it'll give you goosebumps. Elephant twins are very rare, and usually don't survive, because it's so hard for the mother to breastfeed them both. There's really only enough milk for one. But in nature, sometimes the strangest things can happen. :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's in a name

I just started reading a new book today. It's a Phoenix mini paperback, one of those Penguin 60 ripoffs. Not a problem. However, another thing is kind of a problem. The book contains two short stories, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Masque of the Red Death. So we all know which author I'm talking about. Edgar Allan Poe. Not Edgar Allen Poe. They've stuck with the misspelling consistently, in the blurb and everywhere. Seriously? I know he never liked his middle name, and would have preferred to not even have it, but since he does have it, at least show the common courtesy of spelling it correctly.

I really never thought I would see the day when a writer of this stature had his name misspelled on the cover of a serious publication from a reputable publisher. What's next? Jane Austin?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

Weak Sauce. A completely inscrutable god like the one he's describing could be anybody. Cthulhu, Quetzacoatil, Vishnu, or the Great Green Arkleseizure ... who cares if a god is real if we have no idea what he wants or how to kill him?
Commenter ChaosSong on The Atheist Experience blog

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New games!

I always have a list of games that I'm thinking about getting hold of, and when an opportunity presents itself of getting hold of them at a bargain price ... I seriously consider it. :-) KAS was kind enough to pick up two such bargains for me and I got them tonight when we went to the movies together - Shame, by Steve McQueen. I hardly know what I think of that one yet. But I know that I look forward to trying these games. :-)

Habitat, a card game where each player tries to put together a functioning ... well, habitat, with different animal groups and resources.

Blue Moon City, a sequel to a card game I've never played, but supposedly actually better than the first. Or so some people think. It's by Reiner Knizia so I'm sure it's cool. :-) The pieces are wonderful. There are dragons. Yay for dragons!! :-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lucky Octavia Spencer

Anyone who's seen The Help - and if you haven't, you should - will remember Octavia Spencer, who brought to life the irrepressible Minny Jackson. She's from Montgomery, Alabama, but moved to LA some years ago to pursue a career in the movies. I'm sure she's had several OMG/WTF moments since then, but this is totally the coolest one she'll ever have. ;-)

Widescreen here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

ESC 2012: Norway, round one

Yay, we're on!! :-D The first part of our national ESC selection was tonight, I was going to liveblog it, but I had my family over, so I didn't manage to. Apologies to Findabair. ;-) Going to try to make this a pretty brief recap *cough*.

Eight songs, three go on to the final. The format's a little different this year, no semifinal to give contestants a last hope. Gotta keep it interesting, I guess. o_O

Entry #1: Elevator by Anne Judith Wik, Nermin Harambasic, Ronny Svendesen (??), Robin Jenssen and Carl Pritt, performed by Irresistible. Meh. Extremely American, me no like. And Europe no like either, in the ESC. Kind of catchy chorus, rather unmelodic verse. Forgettable. And enough with the rap already. Forget it, that combo's not a winner. Sheesh. And they have too many people on stage. The show is supposed to be spectacular, but why should we vote for something that we obviously can't show in Baku? None of us thought that this would get through.

Entry #2: Så vidunderlig by Elin Nygård, performed by Kim André Rysstad. Norwegian lyrics, good. In dialect, even better. :-) Folk music meets Whitney Houston? No, not really. It's pretty, but doesn't have what it takes. Predictable lyrics. We kept waiting for some kind of lift to the song, some kind of high point to it, but that never came. This might do relatively well, Norwegian audiences might like this, but it'd never get far in Baku.

Entry #3: High On Love by Thomas G:son, Ovi and Tommy Berre, performed by Reidun Sæther. Gotta love it - Ovi will never give up, he is going to win this thing some day. More power to him. :-D And this song, hey, now we're talking! Kind of pretentious title, but what a voice! This woman can sing. Clearly the best so far (although my father is highly opposed to that kind of wide-legged stance, what are people thinking, it's all over the place these days). Good song, cool performance. This is something they'd like in Baku. ;-) A real Eurovision feel to this. Pretty standard, but entertaining, and has that oomph. I like this. Figured we'd probably hear this again. :-)

Entry #4: You Break It, You Own It by Rune Berg and Asbjørn Ribe, performed by Rudi Myntevik. Not a very good voice, but may have a certain charm. Cool outfits on the band. Original lyrics, I like this take on it, but the phrase is actually you break it, you buy it ... but whatever. An OK entry, but nothing special. No hook to the melody. We all dismissed this as a contender. :-)

Entry #5: With Love by Tommy Berre, Johanna Demker, Anita Lixel and Lisa Stokke, performed by Lisa Stokke. An extremely glam outfit! In fact it's almost a bit much. This entry is of course very professionally performed, and Stokke has a good voice. A real show tune that may have potential. Nice to have lyrics that go a little outside the standard parameters. And of course, pyrotechnics and what have you. Very showy. We thought this would be quite likely to get through.

Entry #6: Little Bobbi by John Lundvik, Philip Halloun and Thomas Felberg, performed by United. This was my favorite entry by default, since Benedicte Adrian, one of my favorite singers, is in this group. I don't like the silly title though. An interesting opening to the performance. Rap again, sheesh. Not my favorite, and totally not an ESC hit. It's catchy though. Sadly in a way that quickly gets enervating. Too American. Benedicte also rapped, which was strange, we thought she'd be doing something totally different. :-D She kind of did too, eventually. Cool show, a song that stands out. Could never hope to win in Baku, but kind of original. However, it still so annoys me that they allow performances that couldn't be presented internationally. It's basically a trick, I don't like it. I thought this might possibly get through but probably wouldn't.

Entry #7: Somewhere Beautiful by Christian Ingebrigtsen and Eivind Rølles, performed by Nora Foss al-Jabri. Now with this girl we already knew the performance would be stellar. What an absolutely fantastic voice she has. I keep thinking it's got to be some sort of scam that she's only 15. o_O Very professional performance, but still emotional and genuine. Good song too. A real Disney tune. :-D The UK did well with this kind of powerful emotional ballad in 2009. This might be a hit, they'd like this down east. I'd love to hear this again. I was convinced that this would get through.

Entry #8: Don't Touch the Flame by ... all the guys in The Carburetors, performed by The Carburetors. The guys themselves are kind of annoying, but it's cool to have a real rock song in the contest. Good song, catchy, and they're real pros on stage. But what's the point of running around that whole thing if he's not going to jump off anything afterwards? o_O It would have been really cool to send this ... it wouldn't win, but it'd be so cool to send it. :-) Great response from the audience in the hangar (long story :-). I thought this might get through.

That was all the songs, a pretty good lineup IMO, although my father needed a cup of coffee to stay awake. :-D We figured that Somewhere Beautiful and With Love would get through, and I also really believed in High On Love. That seemed weird to me though, three female soloists? No, that's too unlikely. But which of the three would miss out?? Turned out it was Stokke and The Carburetors took her place. Good for them and better for the lineup. :-) So glad Nora Foss al-Jabri came out ahead of everyone else, she really deserved it, and it meant soo much to her. :-D

That's all, looking forward to next Saturday when I definitely won't have those people hanging out here ... :-D

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quote of the week

On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics.
Richard Feynman

Friday, January 20, 2012

Board game night

Cartagena. Fun again. I probably shouldn't be admitting this, but I totally prefer this game Jamaica style, with concealed cards. I'm just not a strategist, I'm in it for the laughs. :-) O. won this one. :-)

Piece o' Cake. A new acquisition that we tried for the first time. When I first came across this game I thought it looked pretty silly, but then I thought ... cake. I do like a bit of cake. ;-) So after reading up on it, I bought it, and yeah, it's as much fun as I thought it would be. Very easy to learn and a lot of fun to play - who doesn't like cake?? I won, Tanumine lost, but she would have come second if I hadn't accidentally tricked her so she scored ten points less than we thought she would. I'm so sorry ... !! I don't know what I was thinking ... ! o_O

Ticket to Ride - the Card Game. Ooh, the beautiful artwork ... !! Another game that was quick to learn, although it took me a little while to figure out the rail yard/on the track thing. In the board game version it's visualized with the train pieces, but here it's all done with cards ... obviously. :-) I won this one, I managed to complete all of my ten tickets, I could hardly believe it myself. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Awesome ad

Yeah, I know, I try to avoid using the word 'awesome' if at all possible ... but I just couldn't resist the alliteration. :-) Check out this fantastic ad. I love it. I've never been to Milwaukee, although the city has a place in my consciousness because two of my all time favorites have such strong connections to it - my favorite serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, committed most of his murders there, and my favorite pianist*, Liberace, was from there. Now I'm thinking I'd like to go there and visit the library. I like it there already. :-) 

*OK, let's say favorite male pianist, and let him share the honors with Ingrid Bjørnov. :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My calendar wall, January 2012

Last year I totally neglected the calendar wall here on the blog. Shame on me. This year I'll do better.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How about a new shirt?

I'm pretty sure he's able to afford a few new t-shirts - even with the relatively steep prices in Paris, where this was taken - but hey, it's still wearable. Far be it from me to judge, etc.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Political correctness gone amok

This thing right here - seriously, this showcases everything that's wrong with political correctness. OMG, someone made a pun that references color ... !! SHOOT HIM!!1

If I recall correctly, I seem to remember one of these Madcon guys calling some white fellow 'vanillaface' during a concert somewhere ... last year, was it? But of course, that was merely an amusing joke. Silly me, I forgot that only white people can be racist.

Now there's talk about not allowing Plumbo to participate in our national ESC contest, Melodi Grand Prix, as they are scheduled to do. I hope they are allowed to compete; anything else would be totally ridiculous, and if they are, I will vote for them.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two player board game night

I have several board and card games now that are for only two players, and last Saturday we weren't really enough players to spare two for those games ... so I didn't get to try any of them. :-) I've only played one of the six two player games I have before. Tonight Anne Ida came over and we got through four of the six. Yay us! Some were better than others, but I think we'll be playing all of these again.

Mr Jack. A detective searches for Jack the Ripper one dark night in Whitechapel. There are eight characters, one is the Ripper. One player is Jack and the other is the detective; Jack tries to escape and the detective tries to deduce which character he is. We played this twice - I was the detective, and Jack escaped, then I was Jack, and was caught. :-D (I'm not necessarily any good at board games, I just enjoy playing them. ;-) Oddly enough Inspector Lestrade was the killer both times, even though I thought I shuffled the alibi cards pretty well. o_O

Tortuga. A very pretty game, I love the look of it. Obviously. ;-) Each player controls eight turtles - that's to start with, you can take over the other player's turtles too - and the objective of the game is to get one of your turtles into the other player's 'home base' (the field with the biggest turtle symbol). We played it once, I won, very quickly I might add. This seems to play very quickly, at least with as little thought to strategy as we put into it. We both have the same idea about playing a game for the first time - let's just do something and see what happens. :-D I think after playing this a few times one will start to see a lot more strategy options develop.

Scarab Lords. I am a Reiner Knizia fan, so I was positive about this game before we even started playing, but it took a good long while to figure it out. I have the Fantasy Flight Silver Line edition with the Swedish rule book, and sheesh, are they crappily written ... ! They are soo convoluted and so much trickier than they have to be. We read through them and were more confused than we were before we started. So yeah, we just did something and waited to see what'd happen. :-) It turned out to be a pretty good game ... although we could have and would have played a little differently if we had had a better grip of which cards are available in each player's deck. Basically you have a deck of cards and can play them in various phases of your turn, and they establish you as more or less dominant in a crypto-Egyptian setting. Your opponent can place curses on you to hinder your progress. I think we will have fun with this game once we learn a little more about which options each player has to choose from. There's also an advanced set of rules where you use an additional deck that both players share; needless to say we didn't try this. :-) We played it once and I won - maybe I shouldn't have, because I suspect in hindsight that we read one rule wrong, but on the other hand I was pretty far ahead, so I would quite probably have ended up winning in any case.

Atlanteon. More Knizia! In Scarab Lords the theme worked really well with the game, in this one it seems very tacked on. The theme could have been absolutely anything here, so that was a little disappointing, because as a theme it's pretty cool. Who doesn't want to visit Atlantis? :-) The game itself works OK though. We've played Kingdoms quite a few times, and that looks very similar to this, but the scoring is different, so we kind of confused ourselves with that. :-D In this game you play tiles not to score points, as such, but to dominate the tiles you place yours next to. o_O We need to learn to 'read' the scoring a little better, but I think we'll be playing this again, it was a quick and pretty simple game. We played it once, Anne Ida won the first time after quickly taking over all three palaces which is one of the victory conditions ... the second time I made sure to get hold of one palace too to keep this from happening again, and that round lasted quite a bit longer, but I'm not entirely sure who won ... ? When only two tiles were left we got to talking so much about the placement of those two and what would have happened if this, but what if that ... so I think the actual victory kind of got away from us. :-D But an OK game in any event. We'll try this again too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Write," she said, "as if you'll never be read. That way you'll be sure to tell the truth.
Lori Lansens, The Girls

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dandylion in concert

I mentioned a certain concert I went to the other day ... ? Now you can see part of it on my Youtube channel. The rest of it is coming up over the next week or so. Enjoy. :-) Isn't she great - you can't even tell she had a pretty bad cold. :-)

Widescreen here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More games!

Yay, more games! I just picked up a package from the post office this afternoon - I've been waiting for it for like three weeks, I had hoped it would arrive just before Christmas, initially. No such luck, obviously. But better late than never. I think these three games will turn out to have been worth waiting for. :-) I got them from Nerdvana Games on eBay ... a good seller, friendly people, and really good shipping prices. It's not their fault that my order took so relatively long to arrive, they mailed it on December 15th. You never know with international shipping.

What I got:

Piece o' Cake. Players collect - wait for it - pieces of cake. :-) You can choose to either eat your pieces to score immediate points, or you can try to keep them to put together the biggest cake. I think we'll have a lot of fun with this. :-)

Chaos. A card game where players try to collect almost complete sets, but watch out for the fourth card in any set, it'll unleash chaos!

We Didn't Playtest This At All. Yeah, that's the name of the game. Another card game. You take cards, you play cards, you see what happens. The object of the game is to win, so try not to lose, because then you don't win. This is a very quick game AFAIK, so hopefully it'll be a good inbetween game. Supposed to be a lot of fun. :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The boringest place in the world

And look, Herman has to live there. :-(

It's only for a couple of weeks, and he gets to be in the tank for a few hours every day. But it's sooo boring. I'm pretty sure he's slept all day today, till I came home. What can I do, I have to put him through it, it's for his health. :-(

Monday, January 9, 2012

Better or worse?

By this time tomorrow, I'll know. I can hardly wait. I'm finally going to go see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo tomorrow night. The remake. I know, 'finally' ... it's only been out for like two and a half weeks. :-) But I wanted to see it on opening night, I've just had to put it off again and again ... it's been a very busy couple of weeks. Which of course is good in a way, but still. I've been dying to see this. I'm skeptical about it, because, well, it's a remake. Which is all Hollywood dares to do these days, and it's soo infinitely boring. The critics are raving about this one, and saying that the filmmakers have understood the novel so well ... OK, that may be so, but in all honesty, I'm not convinced. Have you seen the poster? Well, right there they're veering off from the novel. Rooney Mara is supposed to be the perfect Lisbeth, but look, she has boobs. Which Lisbeth doesn't. Of course any Hollywood heroine has to be shapely. But that means they by definition won't be able to stay true to the book ... or at least not to this character. So. I am not convinced. :-) But we'll see, we'll see ...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hot air balloon-ish

As I mentioned yesterday, I like hot air balloons ... and look, here's one now, or at least one thingamajig that is kind of like one. It shares certain important features with one. We saw it on New Year's Eve ... these people who were standing right behind us sent up first one, which went well, and then this one, which kind of struggled. But it got there in the end. Kinda fun that I filmed them releasing this one. :-)

Widescreen here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Board game night

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to get back to having regular board game nights. So this year I'm going to host them twice a month, invite everyone on this mailing list I've set up and hopefully have fun playing with whoever shows up. Tonight was the first time. We ended up being six for most of the night, and got through, let me think, four games. Two of them twice. A good time was had by all, I think. So, the project is a success so far. :-)

Another thing I really want to do is to play all the games I have. I have some really seriously cool games that have been well considered purchases and have really been worth the price, but I do also have a bunch of more random buys *cough* that have just been sitting on a shelf for years and never been played. Some of those I'm almost completely sure totally suck, but hey, we gotta try them. Don't knock it till you try it. So every time we do this I'm going to force people to play one of these old clunkers and we'll see what we get out of it. Who knows, there may be some undiscovered gems in the pile too.

Of course I also want to try all my new games ... ! :-) So, six people, and this is what we played:

Cartagena, a quick game that's very easy to learn, hardly any rules. You construct the board yourself from a bunch of loose pieces, so it's different every time. The players take the parts of pirates escaping from the supposedly impregnable fortress of Cartagena. (This really happened in 1672.) One of the games I got on Thursday. Definitely a good buy, we'll be playing this again. We played it twice, once with open cards and once with concealed cards - both are possible under the rules of the game - we definitely preferred the latter.

Montgolfiere, one of my old games that we've never played. The players control hot air balloons and the aim is to fly to the moon. :-D You rise or fall by playing various cards, ballast of various weights, storms, etc. Another quick game, very straightforward, almost nothing to complicate it. Some opportunities for strategy but you have to play it a couple of times to get the hang of them. We played it twice tonight. Great artwork, I love hot air balloons.

The Pillars of the Earth, with the expansion set that lets six people play. Fantastic game, based on the novel of the same name by Ken Follett. (Still haven't read that, but will one day. :-) The players build a cathedral, using workers, resources, craftsmen etc. A lot of pieces and rather daunting to look at, but once you start playing you quickly get the hang of it. Takes a while, but worth it. Fantastic game.

Rattus, with some cards from the Pied Piper expansion and also the Jester bonus card that was made especially for BoardGameGeek.com. This is such a cool game. Europe in the mid-fourteenth century - rats are spreading the Black Death and the players try to keep their populations alive (forget about stable!) as best they can. Various characters help out, they give you abilities that can help you but are also potential liabilities when the plague strikes. We played once, had fun with the characters we used, but since you only use a few at a time we need to play this a lot more with the various new characters to figure them all out. We selected the six character cards at random and added the Jester.

Rattus ... !! :-D

Friday, January 6, 2012

Quote of the Week

She's the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can't we get health insurance?
Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A shopping spree

I has a crazy ... !! At least it feels like I've gone a little bit crazy today, but that doesn't hurt anyone, does it? We all need a little bit of crazy sometimes. :-) Throughout 2011 I've been saving up loose change and what not ... a twenty every week, for starters ... with a view towards a wild shopping spree in a board game store some day in the new year. And that day was today. I went out to Kjeller after work to visit the brick & mortar store attached to the very tempting online store Brettspill.no. KAS met me there - she works right around the corner - strangely enough neither of us had ever been there. (A bit stranger in her case, I have to say. :-) I had something in the region of a couple of thousand crowns to spend. I know - dangerous ... !! :-D

Well, it was hard to choose - and of course they're sold out right now of the one game I want most of all at the moment - but I managed to muddle through somehow. *cough* So many wonderful new additions to my collection!! Those of you who are coming over for board game night on Saturday won't know what hit you. ;-)

The store!! Oooh ... !

From whence I brought home, wait for it ...

Rattus: Pied Piper. An expansion for a really fantastic game, in which a swarm of Rattus norvegicus spread plague across Europe.

Mr Jack. A two player game where one player is an investigator and the other takes the part of Jack the Ripper. The investigator tries to find out which of the game's eight characters is the notorious killer, and Jack tries to escape from Whitechapel.

Carcassonne: the Dice Game. The dice version of the now classic tile laying game. Supposed to be very quick and easy.

Cardcassonne. The card version of the now classic tile laying game. :-)

Cartagena. Pirates try to escape from the dreaded prison fortress.

Thurn und Taxis. Players set up mail routes in the late 15th century.

Galapagos. Biologists follow in the footsteps of Darwin, exploring the Galapagos islands. Designed by the same people who made Rattus, so I have high hopes for this.

Carcassonne: the Tower. One of the very few Carcassonne expansions I didn't have. :-)

And in addition to this, KAS decided to get me my Christmas present early - very early ... !! :-D We found the perfect gift, which she would have given me for Christmas three weeks ago if only she'd gotten around to visiting this place earlier. :-D So now she's gotten off to an extremely early start on her Christmas shopping. ;-) KAS: come December, all you have to do is wrap up, ooh, I know, a KvikkLunsj! :-D and put a note inside where it says REMEMBER TORTUGA ... !! :-D

Anne Ida, you and I will be playing this at the earliest possible opportunity ... !! :-D

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oslo BookCrossing meetup

A couple of pictures from this month's BookCrossing meetup here in Oslo. This afternoon, in fact. We meet once a month, normally on the first Wednesday of every month, at 5pm in the La Baguette café in the Central Station. If you're a BookCrosser, or if you're just interested in BookCrossing - or even just in reading - stop by! We're a very friendly gang. :-) You can usually tell which ones we are by the stacks and stacks of books on our table ... ;-)

If you're interested in a meetup but you're just passing through Oslo, let us know! We'll try our best to drum up a meetup while you're here. In the past couple of years we've had extra meetups for BookCrossers from Australia, Finland, Germany and England. The best way to get hold of us is to post about your plans on the Scandinavian BC forum. You'll be almost guaranteed to find some people here in Oslo who'll be able to meet up with you. :-) And share some books ... or a lot of books. :-)

The zone is between two of the couches, you can't miss it. It's really full right now, so if you're looking for something to read and you're passing through the Central Station, look no further! :-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ooh, fancy

Actually, not so fancy ... at least not in this picture. It's kind of crappy, I know. It's the light, and the not so great angle. But this is just to let you know of better things to come. See, it was pretty fancy in real life. :-) Marianne Sveen of Katzenjammer fame just released her first solo album, or at least the first part of it. That was on Friday, and the release party was tonight. I was there, unsurprisingly, so for those of you who are interested, there will be some treats coming up on my Youtube channel shortly. She has a cold right now but she sounded great anyway. :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A sad thought

This morning when I woke up, my very first thought was Hey! It's January 2nd! I have to text Eva and wish her happy birthday, it's her birthday! But then I remembered that no, it's not. :-(

She would have been thirty today. I am sad.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy new year!!

Happy new year to all of you reading this; I hope you had a good evening yesterday. Whichever way you prefer to celebrate the end of the old and beginning of the new. :-) And I hope that if you have made any new year's resolutions, you've picked some simple ones so that you'll be able to keep them without too much trouble. ;-)

I for my part have at least one resolution ... to be a better blogger than I have been for the past month or so. That should be manageable. Here's hoping. :-) I also have one that I will definitely carry out within this coming fortnight - to take Herman to the vet to have his shell looked at. He's got some trouble with it again that I'm really worried about, it's been coming on for a while but I've been putting off taking him to the vet because, well, I procrastinate about everything, but mostly because if you don't know something bad for a fact, you can pretend you don't know it at all, right? I know, I'm a terrible pet owner!! He obviously feels just fine, it doesn't bother him at all. At least not yet. But it definitely doesn't look right. I'm incredibly busy this coming week, unfortunately, but I will be calling tomorrow to book an appointment for the week after. Fingers crossed he'll be fine again. :-(

Any other new year's resolutions I will have to think about a little more. One thing I will definitely carry on doing in this shiny new year - badmouthing the so-called 'newspaper' Dagbladet. Marie Simonsen's comment on the two new year's speeches - the king's, which I watch religiously, and the prime minister's, which I usually try to avoid, as politicians generally turn my stomach - how ridiculous is that?? Fine, I know they're republicans, but can't they at least pretend to be serious?? Stoltenberg touched on many of the major events, unlike the king who only stuck to July 22nd - WTF? Did she watch what I watched? I thought the king barely mentioned July 22nd! He went on about the earthquake in Japan and the Arab spring and I don't know what all ... I was sitting there waiting for him to mention it. o_O She definitely didn't watch what I watched, she wore her republican glasses. Bitch. As for the PM's speech, sheesh, fuck that shit. I'm sorry, I have to switch over to Norwegian here, I can't be bothered to translate all of this.

Dette er internett på sitt beste. Internett på sitt verste er når totalitære forførere får snakke uimotsagt i mørke kroker på nettet.

Dette må vi møte med fasthet. Vi skal drive dem ut med kunnskapens lys. Å ta til motmæle mot ekstremisme er å ta ansvar for fremtiden. Jeg oppfordrer alle til å bli gode digitale nabokjerringer. Ikke for å sensurere meninger eller kvele debattene. Vi skal tåle det ubehagelige. Det som irriterer, provoserer og endog sjokkerer. Men - vi skal ta igjen. Vi skal svare.

Ja, da kommer jo datalagringsdirektivet til nytte, eller hva, Jens?? >:-(

Angi naboen til staten kan du gjøre selv.