Life, the universe and ... oh, whatever ...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Change of plans

For various reasons today I had to cancel my trip to Gran Canaria which I was supposed to be going on from the 19th of November. Not so sad about it though, because come to think of it, there are other places I'd also like to go before Christmas, and I does feel good to know that I've now got a whole week of vacation that I haven't got any plans for so far. I am actually thinking it might be smart to use a week just to work on re-writing my novel, but we'll see...

A friend of mine, Nina, has said that we should take a trip to Dublin, a long-weekend, before Christmas - so that I get to see Trinity college before I decide where I'll be a student next year. I've never been to Dublin so I guess we might just do that...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Weekend come to an end

So this weekend's come to an end.

I have finished "The Dark Tower", and it just didn't become any better. It's really a dissapointment to me. I loved the first 6 books of the series and was certainly looking forward to the last one, but it was not good at all. I can't exactly pin-point what it was that didn't work for me, it was just to long, and detailed and well, just different from the other 6 books. But, I've finished it!

As for my own book, "365 days", I have started re-reading that as well, and have read about 1/4 of it. Shortening it down is going to be a tough task. I see it now that I read through it that there's too much "filling" in it that doesn't go anywhere, things I've just put in there to make it look more like a diary. Normally you will write in your diary not only on days that big things happen but also on the days when nothing is going on at all. Re-reading my novel I understand that there's too much of that, it's like "The Dark Tower", there's to far between the "action-scenes" - or as the consultant that had read my novel wrote: "There's to far between the drinks!" But this will be a really tough task, I've no doubt about - I'll do it though - I've got no other choice.

As for the weekend otherwise, it's been boring! My plan was to do nothing else than spend time at the flat reading, writing and watching movies this weekend, on Saturday I discovered that I was dreadfully bored, and tried to located some friends that would join me for a couple of beers. I had no luck! And still people ask me why I go back to Solör so often, why I even consider moving back there some day, because it's so boring. Well, when I'm there at least I've got my family to talk with when I'm bored - in Oslo it seems like everybody I know is now married and have done the familything - which is really ok, but still it means that it is harder to find people to hang out with - and it also means that Oslo too can be a dreadfully boring place when you're not the kind of person who likes to hangout on the town on your own.

Wow - felt good to get that of my chest! At least I might learn from my mistakes, and what I've learned from this one is to check with my friends if anyone would like to do something, in Oslo, on the weekend, before deciding to stay here and not go back home for the weekend. I'll try to remember to do that in the future.

And now it's Sunday evening, and another week is about to start - a rather tough one I think with long meetings and tough negotiations to get through. I'm already looking forward to the next weekend, even though I haven't really got any big plans for that one yet either.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Kind of half-way good news...!

So - I got my manuscript for the novel "365 days" back from the publisher Bladkompaniet today. I was of course prepared for it being a rejection when I saw that they'd returned it to me. What I wasn't prepared for was the comments that followed the manusript. I'll try to translate some of it:

We thank you for sending us your manuscript which we've now had the pleasure of reading. I am sorry that it's taken such a long time. Two members of the company has read it - a woman and a man - and we both like your story and your characters. A Norwegian Bridget Jones - why not?

I enclose the statement from one of our readers.
We would like to consider your manuscript again if you would take the time to shorten it a little bit.

Their reader sums up the story of the manuscript and even mentions a few quotes (good ones I guess!!!) from the story, and also says that the author tells the story easily and humorously.

But think about this: they actually liked both the story and the characters, AND they would actually want to re-read the manuscript if I can be bothered to shorten it down a little. What else can I say but wow! I totally understand that it's not given that they'd want to publish it even if I do take the time to shorten it down - but still - this is kind of good critique isn't it??

The bad news is of course that now I'll have to sit down and read the manuscript myself again (it's been 2 or 3 years since the last time) and then start working on it - because I DO think this is an opportunity that I can't miss. If I'm serious about wanting to be a writer - I can't NOT take the time to re-write a manusript when I'm asked to do so by a publisher.

This certainly made my weekend even better!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Weekend's here!!!

Finally, another weekend aproaching. I still haven't found anyone who wants to go beer-drinking with me - but there are other things that can be done on a weekend as well.

I am planning to finish "The Dark Tower" - this book has become somewhat a nightmare. I loved the first 6 in the series, not such a big fan of number 7 though. It's just too detailed and too long - but I've got to know how it ends so I have to get through it but I only manage to read about 20 - 30 pages a day before I feel the desperate need to do something else. Maybe it will be one of those books that when you're finally through it and look back on it it won't seem so bad after all.

I'll also try to get some writing done - it's actually been months since the last time I did any writing that I thought was good, it's about time I did an honest try at putting words together to make good sentences and stories again.

I'm also thinking I might be renting some DVDs, perhaps one or two from this list: "Blade Trinity", "white noise", "The forgotten", "Hitch", "Hotel Rwanda". I would like to see a really scary movie soon too, but as I've got no one to see such a film together with this weekend - I'm not sure if my nerves can take it alone....!

Anyway, that's my weekend - what does your weekend look like?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Listening to

Robbie Williams - Angles, that was just played on the radio. It's truly a great song, and it reminded me that I've got no Robbie Williams on my brand new iPod!! Yes, you read it right, I've got a new iPod. I won it actually. In connection with the election for new Parliament there was a competition arranged by the Norwegian Labour party where you had to answer a question about the Labour Party every day for 40 days. I did - and I won 2nd prize, an iPod Mini.

I picked it up last week, and spent 2 hours of cursing over it before I finally agreed with myself that I'd better read the instructions leaflet that came with it. I'm a bit like most men in this I think - when it comes to technical stuff I just asume that I will automatically understand how to use it - and if I don't, well, then it's the technical thing that's wrong and not me - of course, it could never be me. What I actually managed to do first of all last week was that I set the language to Chinese!! Or maybe Japanese or some other language with that kind of letters. Kind of complicates learning how to use it when you can read the information on it!! When I finally read the insturctions I found that I probably wasn't the first person in the world to do this mistake, because there were instructions on how to solve this problem in the leaflet.

So far these are some of the artists that I've uploaded to my iPod:
Beatles, The Corrs, The Clash, Leonard Cohen, Metallica, Red Hot Chillipeppers, Shania Twain, Take That. And these albums: Jentevorspiel, Ottis Wiesn hits, Songs from Dawsons Creek. There's room for about 1000 songs, and so far I've found about 200 to upload - but I've no doubt it will be filled up in no-time. What confuses me though is that as far as I gather from checking out both the iPod and the instructions there's no way that I can remove the music, one song at a time, from the iPod again. Once it's filled up and if I get bored with the music that's on it, I'll have to reset the thing and then everything on it is deleted and I have to start all over again. It amazes me that this is how it is, but I've not found any other solution. Anyone else who's got an iPod as well and know more about it than I do?

Summertime vs Wintertime

Amazing really how much difference there is between working till 15 and 1545. In the Defence we have workhours between 8 and 15 from 15th of May till 15th of September, the rest of the year we have to be in office from 8 till 1545. It's always a bit hard when changing from summer til wintertime again. Last week I would only have about 1 hour left at work now - today I've got almost 2 hours. It's a tough world, yeah???


The moment you saw the title you probably thought that now I'm off to Octoberfest in Münich - well, I'm not. There's actually a bierfest in Oslo from the 22nd to the 24th of September, that is: this weekend starting today. If you read Norwegian you can find more information about it here.

I did visit the Octoberfest when it was in Oslo 3 years ago and it wasn't half bad. I was sceptical because I had been to several such events other places in Norway before that and I had concluded that if it was one thing Norwegians certainly didn't know how to do it was bierfest. But this one was rather good, quite authentic, and I should know having spent my last 10 summers at the bierfest in Kulmbach with its' 5000 visitors.

So, if I can find someone who wants to chance this Norwegian bierfest I think I might go this weekend - after all - it's a great opportunity to drink beer, eat German food and listen to party-music. Anyone who wants to come?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Ordinary Day

I have uploaded another one of my short-stories in English called "An Ordinary Day". Go - see - read: Lena M Bakke

And any comments you might have are of course welcome!

A suitable candidate

Last week I sent an email both to The University of Winchester and University college Chichester with inquieries about their Master-programmes in Creative writing.

The excellent thing about Winchester is that if you provide them with information about your previous studies, aguired grades and such they will tell you whether or not it is likely that you would be accepted into your chose of study if you were to apply. I sent them all information about me, and on Saturday I got an email from them saying that they thought I'd be a very suitable candidate for their MA in Creative and Critical writing, and that they had sent me additional information about the programme in the post.

I still haven't heard a word from Chichester...

This will be a hard decision I think, if I'm accepted into both places. Winchester and Chicester are only about 50 km apart on the south coast of England, and really, if I end up going to the one or the other shouldn't be that big a difference, but... I sort of really had my mind set on studying at Chichester, renting a flat in the nearby village of Bognor Regis - by the ocean. I was visiting both places this spring and I could really see myself living there. And once you've made a decision, it can sometimes be a bit hard to change it. Having grown up in inland Norway I have always had a dream about living by the ocean for a while, having the oportunity to go for long walks or run on the beach, just to be able to sit and watch the sea. Then again, that's a dream, it might not be like that at all. From what I gather, there's also a lot of tough weather for those living really close to the sea so it might not be nice at all.

Once I started thinking about going to England to study I also very soon decided that I wanted to go to some place small, where I'd hopefully have some opportunity to get to know some of the people in my neighbourhood and not just disappear in the crowd. Chichester has about 100 000 inhabitants, Bognor Regis about 60 000 and Winchester about 50 000.

I also decided that I wanted to be at a university where they offer taught modules in Fantasy literature. They've done that so far at both Chichester and Winchester, but from the information I've got in the post from Chichester it seems like they're now changing their programme and that they might not do this anymore next autumn. It's one of the questions I asked in the email I sent them to which I've yet not received an answer. But even though fantasy and sci-fi are my biggest interests in literature, how important is it really to be taught in this kind of literature - wouldn't it perhaps, since I spend almost all my time only reading fantasy and sci-fi, be better if I was actually taught in other kinds of literature to sort of broaden my horizont as a writer? Then again, it probably would be a lot easier to get through such a tough study if there was at least one modul that I was 150% interested in?

Even though the two towns are pretty close to eachother, there are actually kind of large differences in the living costs. I've decided that I'll at least need a 2 bedroom furnished flat/house when I live in England. From the research I've done on the internet, I've found that in Chichester I can get this from £550 and upwards, so far, in Winchester I haven't found anything below £750. Winchester is said to be the second most expensive city in England.

I'll admit I can hardly think about anything else these days. The time for my applications to the universities is soon coming up, and after I have applied I will probably get an answer within 2 - 3 weeks if I'm accepted or not - and after that I'll have to decide.

I at least have decided that I really need to go see Winchester, both the city and the university, before I make my decision though. I'll either make it a long-weekend in the beginning of November, or wait till January - haven't guite decided yet.

Even though it's something I'm really looking forward to, it's actually really hard imagining that by September next year, I've actually moved to England. Wow!

I will of course get back to this subject on lots of occasions in the months to come, so you will get to know my decision when I finally make one. If there should be anyone passing by who has an opinion about this "problem" of mine, maybe someone who knows the cities or the universities, or anything - please feel free to give me some advice - if I'll take them or not, well, that's a totally different story.

Monday, September 19, 2005


It has demandend a whole lot of work, well, more work than I thought actually, but finally I've got a homepage up and running where I've so far published a short-story, it's the same story in both Norwegian and English. I will publish more in the near future. I planned to do so this evening but had forgotten about my computer crashing and dying last week, and with that a lot of documents on it as well. I do have a back-up cd somewhere, I just haven't found out where I've hid it yet. Luckily most of my work is also saved on my station at work, I just forgot to bring it back home with me today.

For now though, go to the page below and, hopefully, enjoy what I've published so far.
Lena M Bakke

The publishing of short-stories

You're probably thinking I've been celebrating the election the whole week and that's why things have been so quiet in this place, well, I haven't - not the whole week anyway - but there was some heavy drinking on Thursday night which supposedly was to celebrate the election so...

I spent yesterday translating one of my short-stories into English: "Click". The plan was also that I was going to publish this and another story on the internet. Yesterday I therefore also activated a web-site that I was thinking I can use to publish the documents. However, making web-pages is nothing like riding a bike - if you haven't done it for 6-7 years and decide to do it again you find that all the knowledge is gone. Last night I spent hours quarreling with the website genereator at - because I thought that would be the easiest way to do this - it wasn't! Today I'll figure out how to upload the html-coding I've written to design a simple page, and I'll also have to figure out how to upload the documents with the stories. It's all really really simple really, actually so simple that my brain never even bottered to keep the information saved after I hadn't used it for a couple of years. I'll get there though - and YOU have some reading to look forward to!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

Sure has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? And here's a picture I took of him last night:

For those of you who wants to read about it, here's an article in English in the Norwegian national newspaper Aftenposten.


It does look like it is going to be a good life after all....

I've been at the labour party's gathering here in Oslo all evening, and it's been a good one. At the moment it looks like the red-green alternative for governement has got 88 candidates in the Parliament - and suddenly the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.....

And hopefully it won't change that much till tomorrow when the final votes are in...


Monday, September 12, 2005

Election day

Today I feel nervous, anxious, but still excited.... a tough day to get through....

Friday, September 09, 2005

Norwegian Civil Service Union

This posting is mostly interesting for the Norwegian speaking among you:
I am responsible for the inter- and intra-net sites of the Norwegian Civil Service Union/Norwegian Defence, and we've finally got our new pages on the internet, you can find us here (the pages are only in Norwegian):

On these pages you can also find a link to the "101-bladet" (101 Magazine) which is a magazine that comes out 4 times a year to all our members (about 7500 of them) - and I also write for this magazine. So if you're interested you can find the last 3 magazines on our websites and read my articles.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bad day!

I'm so depressed today:
A new poll shows that the majority of the Norwegian population wants a right-winged governement after the election. If this poll had been the result from the election the right-winged parties would have had 92 candidates in the Parliament (as there is a total of 169 you need more than 85 candidates to have the majority). I know it's just a poll and that the real election is on Monday, but still....

If I had been even remotely interested in football, I don't think I would have bothered to get out of bed at all today...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Staring into the face of death

One of my very best friends, Dorthe, lost her mother on Friday night. She dies of cancer. Even though she was diagnosed last summer, she was better this spring and the doctors were hoping for a full recovery. Suddenly she got worse this summer, and I know Dorthe and her family are now in shock at how fast they lost her. You always get so helpless when it comes to people loosing loved ones. I wish there was something I could do to take her pain away, or at least to ease it some – but there really isn’t anything you can do – except being there. Most of us have lost loved ones at some point in our lives, and we all know that when facing death all you really can do is trying to go on, one day at a time, trying to rebuild your life without the loved one in it – and hoping that some day when you wake up, you will recognise that the pain isn’t as bad as it was the day before.

When seeing friends or families going through something like this, I’m always reminded of my greatest loss of a loved on so far in my life, one of my very best friend, I’d almost say he was my soul-mate, Öystein. He died on the 25th of January 2000, only 27 years old. The first days after I got the news just seem like a fog of tears and pain to me now when I look back, and the day of his funeral, which was about a month after his death (he died on vacation in India and it did take some time for his body to come back to Norway) I still think is the hardest day in my life. Seeing his coffin and realizing that he was actually gone. The first 6 – 7 months after that I thought about him every day, crying a lot at night – often almost not being able to believe that he wasn’t anymore. After a year or so one day I suddenly realized that Öystein hadn’t actually been on my mind for a couple of days – and it felt strange, but also a relief that I could think about him without starting to cry.

The pain never totally goes away though. Like I said, every time someone close to me is hurt by death – I think of Öystein – and the pain of loosing him comes back, I might even start to cry again if I allow myself to really feel the pain, most often I try not to – I have felt that pain more than enough, and crying for him won’t bring him back. The tears I cry back then when it happened were tears to deal with the pain, to get through the emotions – the tears I’ll cry now are those of hopelessness when staring into the face of death, tears of anger at a universe that takes away our loved ones to early and to sudden. So I try not to, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

So, I know something of what Dorthe is going through right now – even though I also recognize that every person is unique when it comes to situations like this. The emotions are not the same, the reactions are not the same – and the ways of getting through it are not the same. There really isn’t much else I can do than being here, in every way that I can!


But DO make sure it is for the correct party!!

I did my citizen's duty yesterday and went to city hall here in Oslo and voted in this year's election for new Parliament. The election day is really on the 12th of September, but for those of us who can't be home in our own constituencies on Monday we have to vote early enough for the votes to be sent back home.

What I voted for? The Labour Party of course! It was the Labour Party which governed this country after WWII, for almost 20 years - they layed the basis for the good social-democratic society we've got today. Unfortunately the right-winged forces are now trying to destroy this, but people still don't see it. There are so many that still don't recognize that if we allow the right-winged governement to continue it won't be long before this country is more like the USA, with much larger differences between the "classes", where the wealthy get even more rich and the poor will be a lot poorer than they are today.

I am both excited and dreading the upcoming election on Monday. All polls show that it is so close between the right-winged alternative and the left-winged alternative, it's really not a sure thing that we will get a new government after the election, a governement that will fight for the rights of regular working people.

I truly do worry what will become of this country if we are to keep struggelig with the right-winged parties in the government offices. Some of the consequences we already know, because of what they say in their programmes, and from what they've already done in this last period.

They have changed the labour law, making it a law to protect the directors, companies and society, not a law to protect the worker from abuse. They have changed the rules for how much overtime a worker has to do without getting extra pay, a change which might cost the average worker as much as 40 000 nkr pro year in lost income. They have changed the civil servant law taking away rights from the civil servants, some of which we've had since the 1920s.

They claim they are pro a free choice society, what most people don't get is that this isn't a free choice for most people - it is a free choice for those with enough money to buy the choice they prefer; in schools, in health care and all other areas of life.

I still really truly don't get it how so many of the regular working people with an average pay-check buy into the things the right-winged parties say - and even vote for them.

I'm very worried about the upcoming election...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I must admit I watch with amazement and almost a kind of shock as the situation in New Orleans and the neighbouring areas gets increasingly worse from hour to hour. It’s incredible that something like this can actually happen in a so-called rich country in the western world. I have never been a big fan of the USA, and even less so after they’ve chosen Mr Bush to lead the country not only once but twice now. There are so many things wrong with that country I wouldn’t know where to start, but that things were so fucked up as this, who would have thought?

I would like to know that if a hurricane like this was to strike for instance Stavanger (Norwegian city on the south-west coast, 5th biggest city in Norway with aprox 100 000 inhabitants) next week, and the government new it was coming they would have done more. First of all they would have done more to get the people out of there before the hurricane, but also, they would be doing a lot more after the disaster had happened. Some of you might argue that well Norway’s 5th biggest city with it’s 100 000 thousands inhabitants is small compared to New Orleans and the 1 million people who were affected there – well, then you’ll have to remember that we’re a small country, with only 4 million people total – so here Stavanger actually is a quite big city.

This morning I heard a speech by Mr Bush on TV where he said that of course the government was going to give some aid in this situation, but that it was also even more so important that companies and private persons give their aid in this. I’d say HELL NO! This is a responsibility of the state; to take care of their citizens in their outmost time of need! In Norway today I’m sure that if something like this happened, the government and parliament would have done Everything to help, they certainly wouldn’t expect private companies or persons to solve the problem and help the desperate people – I might be a bit naïve, but yes I do think so. I’m not so sure if this will be the case if Norway in this year’s election once more vote for a government from the right. If the Conservative and Progress party get to rule this country in the coming years, we will eventually end up being a USA in miniature – where every person is on his own, and shouldn’t really expect any aid from the government at all! This really is frustrating, most people can see all that is wrong with the USA, and they still want that? I just don’t get it!

Back to New Orleans. I said I’m in shock about how badly this situation is handled, and I’m watching from thousands of miles away, I can only imagine what a shock it must be for those who are in the middle of this – realizing that “the best country in the world” is so messed up it can’t even help its’ own citizens in a time of crisis as this is!

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I have always loved playing games like "Trivial Pursuit", but it's not that often that I get to play. Tonight however I will for the first time participate in a pub quiz, here in Oslo, at Belfry. My friend Nina and I are going there, and I think together we'll manage quite well, I do suspect that we will run into problems if there are too many sports questions though...