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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My pigeon theory

In my garden there is a bird tray, or what ever it’s called, the kind of thing you put seeds and bread crumbs on for the birds. After I moved in here I started putting food out there, thinking how nice it would be to watch the little cute birds when they would come to eat.

The first days I saw a couple of Black Birds, and even a few smaller birds that I don’t know the English names of. Then suddenly to my surprise it seemed to be getting rather quiet around my bird tray. The strange thing was though, that I could look out there and see no birds, come back half an hour later and still see no birds by the tray would be completely empty. For a while I considered if I might have stealth birds in my garden.

Then one day I caught him in action, the BIG FAT pigeon. He wobbled on to the bird tray, so fat he could hardly fit onto it, and he did not leave till he had eaten every last crumb and seed on the tray, which took him about half an hour.

Since then he’s started to bring a couple of mates as well, both as fat as him. Occasionally their party is interrupted by a gang of crows that rush in, scare them off and have a feast, until I scare the crows away because they’re so ugly I won’t allow them to eat MY bird food on my watch.

I still get the occasional Black bird and smaller birds as well, but mostly my garden is now ruled by these three pigeons – sometimes in the afternoon I have seen a couple of their lady friends stopping by as well, but not very often so I guess they’re not allowed out much.

Have you ever noticed how, when pigeons start flapping their wings and get ready for lift-off, this squeaking sound that seems to be coming from inside them somewhere, probably in the area where their wings are attached to the body? I’ve never heard this sound from any other birds when they’re getting on their wings. This has now led me to believe that pigeons aren’t real birds, they are bird bots!

And why would there be such a thing you may ask? What would I know, I’m sure who ever is building these bird bots doesn’t intend for us to find out that they aren’t real, and won’t reveal for what evil purposed they are spreading these “things” all over the planet. It might be aliens using them to spy on us before they invade, it might be the government who wants to make sure that no one does any work without paying their taxes or have a TV without paying the licence or it may actually be George Bush. Why George Bush you say? How on Earth would I know why, nothing of what he does makes sense to me anyway, so for him to be making bird bots doesn’t seem strange to me at all!

The only sure thing is that whoever is behind them, never thought that anyone would actually have enough time to waste to watch pigeons closely, I mean, they are everywhere, and there are so many of them, that I’ll bet that not even the most eager bird watchers spend any time on the seemingly boring pigeons, they usually tend to watch for more exotic birds. Face it, it’s the perfect cover!

Anyway… where was I… oh, yes, trying to write a novel in about ten days, that’s what I’m REALLY doing…

Monday, March 26, 2007

A work in progress

As I’ve told you I’m working on a novel for a competition with deadline on the 16th of April. Since Friday I’ve actually written 20 000 words. Your normal average novel will normally be about the size 80 – 90 000 words so I don’t think I’ve done badly so far speed-wise. The only thing that’s stopped me from writing even more this weekend is pain. When I spend more than 5 – 6 hours by the computer at a time my neck stiffens, my shoulder starts aching and finally my back screams in pain at the same time as the hammers start doing their work inside my head. This will be the time when I get up from the computer cursing loudly because my body is working against me, but what can you do? I am hoping to do about 7 – 8000 words a day the next couple of days.

On Thursday my parents and an aunt&uncle are flying in from Norway. They’ll be staying till Monday when I’m flying back to Norway with them. I don’t suspect I’ll get much writing done while they’re here, there are so many things I want to show them and so many places I want to take them – and not forget, so many pints that need to be drunken!!!

I do run into some frustrations when I’m writing this Viking story of mine: I’m not a historian, neither am I very good at geography, especially not what the country looked like about 1000 years ago and what the different places were called back then. So I keep having to go online and try to find information, because I really want my story to be as historically correct as possible.

Some of the things I’ve been wondering about lately:

  • What did the area around Steinkjer look like 1000 years ago? Would it be possible to live on a farm near the fjord but still have a forest very near?
  • Would the name Ørlandet exist at that time, or is this a newer name? What else could it have been called, and did people live there back then?
  • How long would it take to row a longship from Steinkjer to Ørlandet?
  • Did they know how to count, and how far could they count? Would it be likely that a woman would be educated enough to count?
  • Were there wild rabbits in Norway 1000 years ago? (Are there wild rabbits in Norway Today?)
  • The trading place of Lade, how big was it really? Did people live there?
  • Who was king in Tröndelag around the year 791?
  • Could people from Tröndelag have participated in the attack on Lindisfarne in 793? If so, how long would it take them to get there?
  • How do I properly describe a longhouse so that everyone understands what I’m talking about?
  • Would the Vikings have ships were it would be possible to go below deck for shelter in stormy weather?
  • What were their swords made from?
  • If you set a slave free, how did you do it? Is it likely that you would for instance make him a rune of freedom? Write it on a piece of wood or something so that he could show if someone asked him?
  • When did the first monasteries appear in Norway?
  • When the Vikings attacked Lindisfarne, could there have been nuns at the monastery or were there only monks there?

Oh, well, these are just a few of the things I’m troubling with, it seems that I’m spending way to much time online doing research when I should’ve been writing. A friend advised me to just keep writing even when I come to things I need to research, just put a big X down so I’ll know where I need to go back and research – the only problem with that is that I’m curious. And once I start thinking about these things I find it hard to focus on other things.

And by the way, most of the things in my list above are things I still haven’t been able or have had the time to find out – so if any of you people reading this know anything about these things – please, save me the time and do let me know!!!

New favourite song

I have a new favourite song; I discovered it while watching an episode of CSI New York on Saturday: Atlantic by Keane. The lyrics are just beautiful and the song, wow… Love it!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My BIG writing project

For my assessment for the module “Sources and Transformations” this semester I’ve been working on a story set in the Viking Age. When I started writing it I thought it would be a short story – then I realized it would be a novel – and now it seems to be turning into a series of books.

The Norwegian publisher Schibstedforlagene/Bladkompaniet has launched a competition with deadline on 16 April 2007. The challenge is to write a novel set in Trøndelag, with a female main character and the book is to be the first book of several. Together with the manuscript for the book they also want a short synopsis for how you imagine that the story will continue after the first book. The winner of the competition wins NOK 100 000 and the possibility to have the series published.

Now I’m trying to get my Viking book finished, it will only be a first draft of course, but I will just have to explain about my lack of time to the publisher and hope that they will first of all focus on the story and not so much on the language. I have also today sat down and made a very brief synopsis of a series of 12 books. The first book starts in 791 and the last one ends in 1073, the title for the series so far is simply “Vikings”.

I have to admit I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish a first draft of the first novel before 16 April, but I am going to do my best. Fortunately I have pretty much written the stuff I need to hand in for workshops on Mondays and Wednesdays so that shouldn’t take time away from writing on the Viking story, but even though the story seems very clear in my head now I might still run into a wall somewhere where I can’t find the words to go on.

I’ll let you know closer to the 16th how this is going.

Movies I’d like to see in the near future:

These are some of the movies I would have liked to see in the cinema now, but I’m not sure if I can find the time:

Becoming Jane
I want Candy
Inland Empire

I’m listening to…

I don’t know why I think that you would find this in anyway interesting but I thought I’d share my favourite music these days with you:

The Proclaimers – I’m gonna be (500 miles)
Hugh Grant & Drew Barrymore – Way back into love
Kent – Om du var här
Snow Patrol – Chasing cars
Roxette – Fading like a flower
Tommy Nilsson – Öppna din dörr
Leonard Cohen – I’m your man
Freddie Mercury – Living on my own
Josh Groban – You raise me up
Marylin Manson – User Friendly

There is quite a lot of other music that I’m listening to as well, but these songs seem to be the ones I’ve kept coming back to in the last week or so.

What I did yesterday

There are so many things that I enjoy about being in England, but I hate being away from our cats, Daisy and Darwin. I miss them so much. Last week it occurred to me that I probably could do something about this, so I sent an email to The Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre and asked if they needed some help with their cats – and they did.

Yesterday I visited the centre and spent two hours handling and cuddling with different cats. Yes, they actually need people to do this. Some of these cats have been through very bad things, some of them have almost gone wild, and before they can be placed in new homes they need to become used to people again. It is a really great feeling when you can gain a cat’s trust. I spent quite a while in one pen where there were three cats that showed that they did want contact, but still was afraid to come too close. So, I just went in there, sat down, talked with them and waited for them to come to me, and eventually they did. And then they started purring and could not be happier. It made them feel happier about life and it certainly made me feel a lot happier – so I’ll definitely be going back there.

I have also been buying quite a lot of things while I’ve been here in England, things I won’t be bringing back to Norway with me and I’m planning on donating this to the rescue centre’s charity shop in East Wittering before I go home. And I’m collecting all my small spare change in a jar, about £20 so far I think that I will also give to the Rescue centre in June.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean 3 - At World's End

I can hardly wait till 25th of May:

You’re joking, right?

I read in one of Norway’s major newspapers Aftenposten today that the local Progress party in Oslo has sent a letter to LO (The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions) asking for NOK 200 000 in support for this autumn’s local election. Oh, come on! If LO were to do that it would be the same as if someone said to you “I’m going to kill you, give me a knife” and then you give them the knife.

LO’s power is built on the principle of power that comes from workers being united in their negotiations with the employers. As not all 800 000 workers can be present themselves in the negotiations, they elect shop stewards (union members who are elected to represent fellow workers in negotiating with management). LO educates their shop stewards to ensure that the workers have the best possible representation in negotiations. One of the reasons why LO thinks a system of shop stewards to represent the workers is a good one, is because if a worker were to meet the employer alone to negotiate the terms for employment the worker could be persuaded or bullied into accepting conditions that would be bad for the worker.

The Progress party’s main principles say:
Legislation should, apart from safety and health provisions, not restrict the rights of individuals to enter into labour contracts subject to the conditions that the parties themselves agree upon.

Then further on in the program it says:
A free labour market does not work properly as long as organisations in a seemingly monopoly situation centrally negotiate agreements on behalf of workers and employers. Work-, salary- and employment-contracts work best if these are negotiated locally between the workers and the employers.

This attacks the very core of what LO stands for: when we are united we are more powerful. The Progress party wants to destroy the very system on which LO is built.

And they ask LO for money?? Their argument is that polls have shown that quite a large number of LO’s members vote for the Progress party. What can I say? Forgive them for they know not what they’re doing? Granted, there are members of LO who don’t like that LO give economical support to the Labour party and Socialist Left party. The reason why LO does this is because these two parties work towards building the kind of society that LO wants for their workers. I personally think that the members of LO who vote for the Progress party and complain about the economical support to the Labour party and Socialist Left party should not be members of LO at all, there are trade unions outside LO as well who, as far as I know, don’t give economical support to political parties. But honestly, if you vote for the Progress party, have read their program and consciously really know what you’re doing – you probably should not be a member of a trade union to begin with – as the Progress party doesn’t seem to believe in trade unions.

I know there are people in LO who would not agree with me when I state this because LO’s power is built on the large amount of members (Norway’s population is about 4.5 million and LO has about 800 000 members), but my utopia is a world where people when they choose to join a trade union they do this because they’ve given some thought to it and know what it means, just as when they vote for a political party they have actually read the program in detail and know what they’re voting for. I will probably no live to see the day when that happens, but I can always dream, can’t I.

But for now I’ll just have to be content with saying: LO giving economical support to the Progress party? You must be joking, right?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Eurovision Song Contest 2007

This year semi-final and final for the Eurovision song contest will be held in Helsinki on Thursday the 10th of May and Saturday the 12th of May. I will be enjoying both on Playa Del Ingles!

United Kingdom was the last country to pick its contestant and did so last night, I watched their national final where six competitors fought for the right to represent their country in Helsinki. None of the songs were very good, I’d say that either Big Brovaz or Cyndi would have had the best chance to do well in the Eurovision final, but the British audience decided to send Scooch with their very poppy song Flying The Flag to the final.

I’ve been to the Eurovision web site and had a look at the competitors this year. Mainly based on their music I’ve tried to form an opinion on them, and I’ve also given them points according to the Eurovision rule: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 10 – 12.

And just to make it clear before you start reading my comments, I don’t know much about music when it comes to what the different genres are called and so on, usually I don’t need to know, I know if I like a song or not and that’s enough. In my comments below though I’ve tried to give you an idea of whether a song is fast or slow, if it’s a nice light pop-kind of song or a bit harder. When I describe a song as being pop or rock or whatever I may be totally wrong, but hey, it’s the best I can do with my poor knowledge about music.

Albania – Frederik Ndoci – Hear my plea - 2
A totally insignificant ballade with a touch of ethnic music.

Andorra – Anonymous – Salvem El Món - 4
I’m sure I’ve heard this one before? A nice and catchy pop song but so similar to thousands that’ve been before.

Armenia – Hayko – Anytime you need - 1
Another insignificant ballade – without the touch of ethnic music.

Austria – Erik Papilaya – Get a life, get alive - 10
Like it! A pop-rock song that somehow partly reminds me of Bon Jovi’s songs

Belarus – Koldun – Work your magic - 7
Not bad. Kind of cute singer, and really handsome guitar player. Good pop song, more catchy than the one from Andorra, entertaining video.

Belgium- The KMG’s – LovePower - 3
Late 70s early 80s song? Boring and insignificant.

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Maria Šestić – Rjieka Bez Imena – 3
Sounds like the opening to what might be a nice ballade, but as the Eurovision site provides me with only about 30 seconds of this song I can’t really say.

Bulgaria – Elitsa Todorova & Stan Yankoulov – Water - 3
I think this is a good catchy dance song, with some good drumming rhythms in there as well, but for some reason I don’t care much for it.

Croatia – Dragonfly feat Dado Topić – Vjerujem U Ljubav - 1
Ouch – the female singer has a voice that hurts my ears. I think this song tries to be a rock ballade but it doesn’t succeed very well, I sort of feel it is all over the place and it doesn’t touch me at all.

Cyprus – Evridiki – Comme Ci, Comme Ça - 1
Boring insignificant pop-dance kind of song.

Czech Republic – Kábat – Mála Dáma – 3
Strange voice on this male singer, not necessarily unpleasant, but strange. When he sings he sounds like a heavy metal or death metal singer or something, but the song even though I guess it can be called a light rock song is not anywhere near that music genre. Not half bad, but…

Denmark – DQ – Drama Queen – 4
Very typical Eurovision song, it reminds me a lot of songs I’ve heard in the competition earlier years. Catchy and nice song performed by a drag artist, not by far the best I’ve heard in the “Eurovision genre” though.

Estonia – Gerli Padar – Partners in Crime - 6
Not half bad, I’d say above average nice pop song, catchy and stuff, nice rhythm.

Finland – Hanna Pakarinen – Leave me alone - 8
Yeah, I like this. Good voice, good rock song, this is a song I’d like to hear more than once.

France – Les Fatals Picards – L’amour À La Français - 5
Opens with some very charming English lyrics with French accent. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that France has really tried to find a good song to represent their country this year because they were so fed up with always ending up last (and France has been known to have some terribly bad songs through the years). The song this year is better than a lot of the songs representing France in previous years, more modern for one thing, fast and pop kind of song, but a bit exhausting. Not my favourite kind of music but I would be surprised if France ends up without any points this year though.

FYR Macedonia – Karolina – Mojot Svet - 7
Very ethnic song, more rock than pop I’d say. Not half bad.

Georgia – Sopho – Visionary Dream - 5
This is one of the new countries this year I think, and not a bad entry into Eurovision Song Contest. The song has some ethnic sound to it; rhythmic fast pop-dance kind of song, the female singer has a good voice. There is a certain greatness in this. Probably not one of my favourites though.

Germany – Roger Cicero – Frauen Regier’n Die Welt - 4
Blues-jazz song, a bit boring.

Greece – Sarbel – Yassou Maria - 8
The song is a mix of Latino and Greek sounds and rhythms. Not surprisingly I like this one, as I often do with the Greek songs for Eurovision. It’s not the best one I’ve heard from Greece, Sakis Rouvas with ‘Shake It’ a couple of years ago was a lot better, but still…

Hungaria – Magdi Rúzsa – Unsubstantial Blues – 5
Only about a minute of this song provided on the Eurovision site, but what I hear from it, it does sound like a fairly nice bluesy ballade.

Iceland – Eiríkur Hauksson – Valentine Lost - 7
A rock ballade, and there is greatness in this one, I like it.

Ireland – Dervish – They can’t stop the spring - 6
Not surprisingly a ballade with the typical Irish sound to it. Ireland has had many good ballades over the years in Eurovision Song Contest, I’m afraid this is not one of the best. It’s ok, but nothing more than that. I like the Irish sound to it though.

Israel – Teapacks – Push the button - 1
I must admit I don’t know what to call this genre of music, not pop, rock, blues or jazz that’s for sure. It’s kind of fast, and strange, and I don’t like it at all.

Latvia – Bonaparti.LV – Questa Notte - 5
A ballade with partly a bit of an opera sound to it. Not bad but a bit boring.

Lithuania – 4Fun – Love or leave - 1
Boring insignificant ballade.

Malta – Olivia Lewis – Vertigo - 4
A typical song from Malta: a ballade striving for greatness, but this one doesn’t really succeed. A bit of ethnic sound in there as well. An ok ballade I guess.

Moldova – Natalia Barbu – Fight - 6
I really liked the opening to this, and then it was a bit of a let down when the girl started singing, but it’s not bad, but not very special either. I’d pretty much call it a rock ballade, a bit faster than your average ballade though.

Montenegro – Stevan Faddy – Hajde Kroči - 3
Rock-pop song that doesn’t really do anything for me.

Netherlands – Edsilia Rombley – On top of the world - 5
Quite nice pop song with a catchy refrain.

Norway – Guri Schanke – Ven A Bailar Conmigo - 7
A nice Latino song, but even though I really want to like it because it’s Norwegian, I have to admit I’m not too thrilled about it. I don’t love it, as I sometimes do with the Norwegian songs (for example Wig Wam two years ago was excellent). But maybe it will do well in Eurovision then, since it seems every year I really love the Norwegian song, it doesn’t do well at all.

Poland – The Jet Set – Time to Party - 2
A bit of rap, a bit of pop, a bit of ballade – a bit of everything it seems and I don’t care much for it.

Portugal – Sabrina – Dança Comigo (Vem Ser Feliz) - 4
Also one of the songs that only have about half a minute on the Eurovision website, it sounds like a fairly average fast Latino song.

Romania – Todomondo – Liubi, Liubi, I love you - 3
A very simple song, almost as if it was made for children. They sing in several different languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Russian, French – and they also bring in typical ethnic sounds from the countries the different languages represent. It is interesting, but… It’s a bit too much I’d say.

Russia – Serebro – Song #1 - 6
Nice and catchy pop song, the part of it I’ve heard, only about 1 minute provided of this song on the Eurovision site.

Serbia – Marija Šerifović – Molitva - 4
A middle of the road kind of ballade.

Slovenia – Alenka Gotar – Svet Z Juga - 3
Almost a bit of opera to this song, great voice on this female singer. A fast ballade I’d call it. I don’t think it’s a bad song – but it’s not my kind of music.

Spain – D’Nash – I love you Mi Vida - 8
A fast Latino song with lots of rhythm, and I usually love those – this one I don’t exactly love, but still it is quite nice, and four cute guys as well.

Sweden – The Ark – The Worrying Kind - 7
There is something in this song that reminds me of a typical Eurovision song, even though it really isn’t. Perhaps it’s a newer version of the typical old Eurovision song from Sweden? I somewhat like it.

Switzerland – DJ Bobo – Vampires are alive - 7
Cool video. The song seem too light and joyful for the title though, too much dance, I would’ve wanted something darker. But still, fairly nice song and will probably do well in clubs for those who wants to dance.

Turkey – Kenan Doğulu – Shake it up Shekerim - 6
Nice rhythms, fast. Not bad.

Ukraine – Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai - 0
There always must be one: a totally ridiculous looking artist with an even more silly song – and this year, this is the one. It’s dreadful.

United Kingdom – Scooch – Flying the flag (for you) - 5
A very average pop song with a catchy refrain, very typical Eurovision song, but not a very good one.

So, now that I have listened to all of the songs (some of them only in parts, but still…) I guess I can say that among this year’s competitors my favourites seem to be:

Austria – Erik Papilaya – Get a life, get alive - 10
Finland – Hanna Pakarinen – Leave me alone - 8
Greece – Sarbel – Yassou Maria - 8
Spain – D’Nash – I love you Mi Vida – 8
Belarus – Koldun – Work your magic - 7
FYR Macedonia – Karolina – Mojot Svet - 7
Iceland – Eiríkur Hauksson – Valentine Lost - 7
Norway – Guri Schanke – Ven A Bailar Conmigo - 7
Sweden – The Ark – The Worrying Kind - 7
Switzerland – DJ Bobo – Vampires are alive - 7

Who would I put my money on as the winner? I would never bet money on the winner of Eurovision Song Contest, because I never get it right anyway. Last year I really really wanted Lordi from Finland to win, but I didn’t think they’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing that, so when asked I said that my personal favourite was them but that I thought that… Oh, I don’t remember, but some other country would win – and then to my surprise and delight Lordi did actually win.

I have not been able to give a 12 to anyone this year. Listening to all the songs, I’ve been waiting and hoping for that one song when I’ll think OH YES I love this – it hasn’t come along. But the one 10’er I’ve given to quite a good song: Austria and Erik Papilaya, who knows, maybe he’ll be a winner too?

And when I see them on stage on the 10th and 12th of May I might even change my mind about who my favourites are.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Make my day

I was putting on my shoes and getting ready for my sunshine walk when I heard it so close I thought it might be landing on my roof, so I grabbed my backpack and ran out the door – and there it was; a big army helicopter landing in Rousslon army barracks. These barracks, just across the road from my house, are supposed to be closed for army activity, but I guess they might still use them for storage space or something because this helicopter landed there. Just behind some tall buildings so I could not see it on the ground, but I could hear it and its rotors were not shutting down.

“Go ahead, make my day” I thought to myself waiting for it to be airborne again, and then I could hear the rotors speed up and there it was in the air again. I just stood there, the sun in my face so I had to shade my eyes with one hand to really see it when it took off, I could feel a smile spreading on my lips and my heart speed up just a little – it just made me so happy to see it.

Yes, I am easily pleased! Especially when it comes to flying machines. I don’t remember when my fascination with them began, but it seems as if it’s been there for ever. The first time I ever got to go up in one I was 11 and my aunt took me on a week long trip to Mallorca. I can still remember how amazing it felt being pushed back into the seat at take-off and then suddenly realizing that we were actually not on the ground anymore.

Perhaps it was then the idea was born in me that I wanted to be a pilot, I don’t know – but I do remember that by the time I was 13 – 14 the plan was firmly set in my mind: I was going to be a fighter pilot. For the next years I stuck to this plan, and I even checked out the physical requirements to be accepted into the Air force pilot school and started training with that in my mind.

Then I got older, and confused… For quite a few years there, it must have been starting when I was around 17 – 18, I somehow got the idea that I was a pacifist, and this meant that I could not possible join the military to become a pilot. As I knew that I would never be able to finance such an education on my own I just gave up on that plan and started making other plans for my life. A couple of years past 20 I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t really much of a pacifist anyway, but by then it somehow felt too late to go back and pursue my dream of flying.

Perhaps it was a good thing that thing turned out as they did, because I do tend to feel that my true “calling” in life lies within writing, but there still is this longing in me to fly machines in the air. Being a passenger somehow just isn’t enough.

I guess I can always dream of one day selling enough books to be able to finance flying lessons…

Home is where the heart is...

The last week’s weather has been marvellous here in England, at least for a person from Norway who is not expecting this kind of weather for another month or two! Today’s forecast says 16 degree, so far I’ve only seen 12 of them but I’m heading out for a walk in a couple of minutes so I might find the other 4 then.

I must admit to having been a bit homesick the last couple of weeks, or no, correction: I have not been homesick as in wanting to go back to Norway; the weather here is so much better than there this time of year, so sorry Norway – but not missing the country so much as such. But I have been missing friends and family. It might be the nice warm weather that’s doing it. You should think that it would make me happy, and it does, but it also makes me wish for those I love and care for to be able to experience it too, preferable with me, against a wall outside a pub drinking this year’s first outdoor pint of beer. I still haven’t had one, even though the weather really is demanding one – but I’m not one for going on drinking on my own. I go for walks alone in the sunny nice weather every day, and I stare longingly at the people sitting outside pubs and cafés drinking cold beer in company of friends and wishing it was me. I do have friends over here; we just never seem to get around to drinking beer in pubs that much. And from many years of experience with my Norwegian friends I always know who can be lured outside for a beer on days like these. Of course had we all been in Norway this would probably not been the right time of year for drinking beer outside so there this problem would still not have occurred to me…

Anyway, enough talk about beer… I have been able to do quite a lot of writing lately. I’ve been writing for at least a three – four hours almost every day. Last week I think I reached about 10 000 words in total over the whole week, and I will be getting the same good result this week I think. I’m doing my Dreamland novel chapter by chapter, and this new Viking story that I’m writing, called “The Battle” is really coming along nicely too. At first I thought it was going to be a short story, now I know that it will at least be one novel, maybe more, and I love it. I actually love it so much that I have now started to think that I might choose to work on “The Battle” for my final dissertation and not “Dreamland” which I’ve been planning all along. This is a bit confusing, because there has not at any point up until now been any doubt in my mind that “Dreamland” was what I would do for the dissertation, and then suddenly this last week I’ve been starting to think otherwise.

Oh, well, I’ll let you know what I decide!

Now I’m heading out for a walk in the sun, not enjoying any nice cold pints of beer on the way!

Friday, March 09, 2007


This makes me sad:

Valla steps down

Granted she's been a tough leader, but she has also been a very good leader of LO.
I have not read every piece of media coverage on this topic, simply because I knew the minute Ingunn Yssen went to the media with this that hunting season would now have began on Gerd-Liv Valla. As there have always been elements within LO (no wonder, there are after all 800 000 members) who have wanted Valla gone, the same can be said about parts of the Norwegian media. And of course, as LO is a stronge partner of the socialistic political parties, the right wing parties must be rejoicing at the chaos that this has managed to create within LO.

Ingunn Yssen very early on said that she never meant for LO as an organisation to be hurt by this. Oh, well, who the hell is she kidding? I will assume that someone who achieves the position of internation secretary in LO will at least have a minimum of brain capasity, and will realize what will come of something like this once media is told about it. And still she said she didn't want to sue LO or Gerd-Liv Valla for harassement. It would have been a lot better if she did. That would have been to address this thing through the correct channels and would've been a proper way for Gerd-Liv Valla to be able to defend her actions and her role as a leader as well.

As it is now, she has been publicly executed by Yssen helped by the Norwegian media. I can't help but wonder if Yssen was afraid that if she had taken this to court that she might have lost...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cute cat and vacuum cleaner

I thought this was so cute that I just had to put it up here: a cat being vacuumed:

Music and Lyrics

Yesterday I went to the cinema and saw the movie “Music and Lyrics” staring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. It is a romantic comedy and I enjoyed it. It’s never going to be a big classic for me in the genre romantic comedies like “Four Weddings and a funeral” or “Dirty Dancing” – but still, it was a very nice movie. The most surprising thing for me though was that Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore actually do their own singing. Drew Barrymore only sings on one song, but Hugh Grant does several – and he is actually not a terrible singer. He is not the best singer I’ve heard, but still, who would’ve thought that he could even be as good as he is on these songs.

I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes yesterday and I must say I like quite a few of the songs. The “Way back into love”, “Dance with me tonight”, “Meaningless kiss” (is also somewhat very similar to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” which is probably also intended since the song supposedly was a hit in the 80s) and “Don’t write me off” are nice love songs, and I really like the rhythm’s for “Buddha’s delight” with Haley Bennet, there’s something in it that reminds me of Shakira I think.

Hugh Grant has always been one of the men that I really like, I’ve used to think he’s drop dead gorgeous, but now… he’s getting old! But then again, I guess that he might have been made to look a bit older in this movie too because he is playing the role of a has-been pop star from the 80s. I did see an interview with him recently though, and… he did look a bit old. Drew Barrymore however does not look old, and the two of them together is actually a bit…eh, not so nice… she looks at least 20 years younger than him.

But as I said: all in all a nice romantic comedy with some really enjoyable music as well.

The saddest thing probably was that I had to see it on my own, and seeing a romantic movie on your own, well that’s praying to be left with the blues afterwards, isn’t it?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Weekend is here…

… and I would really like to party, but as I haven’t got anyone to party with this weekend I guess that’s not going to happen. So I’ll probably be spending the weekend doing what I ought to be doing: working on the pieces I’m handing in for next week’s workshops.