Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Movie: Different

Tyrrell Shaffner's 2004 short movie Different tells the sad story of Justin Meyers. He's a high school student, and has a dark secret: he is straight. As everyone is understandably revolted by the idea of straights (and the preacher in church warns the congregation against the terrible sins of straightness), he has a difficult choice: should he own up to the girl he's in love with, risking her disgust, or keep playing gay?


Here's a picture that will doubtless lead to much disgust in cinema's everywhere where the short is seen - it's terrible to see straights kissing in such an unapologetic way.

Great short, though.

Justin is played by Ben Hogestyn and Emily Stiles is Joanne. I'd like to ask them how they felt about having to perform a heterosexual kiss - even in front of a camera.

Riise: now also (barechested) actor

After beating Milan in the Champions League final last week (with his team Liverpool), John Arne Riise yesterday starred in a Norwegian comic tv series. The series is the popular "Hos Martin", the follow-up on the incredible popular "Mot i brøstet" (popular in Norway, that is - not abroad...) The episode is due to be screened this autumn.

Here's a photo from vg, showing that John Arne Riise decided to undress a little there as well...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Movie: Mysterious Skin

This is not a happy-happy movie - be warned. In fact, it's quite unpleasant at times. And it's yet another of those movies that you can't say much about without destroying the whole experience (I'm happy I didn't know anything about it in advance). In these cases, I usually just say what happens in the first few minutes of the movie: we see two little boys, one of them getting quite a lot of attention from his coach...

Well, what I can say, is that there are a lot of skin to be seen and a lot of sex (but not too graphic). It is powerful and disturbing. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Neil) and Brady Corbet (as Brian) are doing difficult roles quite well. The movie is directed by Gregg Araki, whose best film today is Nowhere, in my humble opinion (which reminds me I should see it again - I haven't seen it in years, even though I have the VHS...)

All in all, I don't regret seeing this film...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Sudoku

An Economist article in the previous issue ("Do you sudoku?") have made me aware of an intriguing puzzle called "sudoku".



The aim of the puzzle is quite simple: when finished, there is to be nine of each numeral in the grid. There is to be one of each number in each row, one in each column and one in each block (marked by bold lines).

So far, I've just done a few of the simple ones, but it seems like something I might want to kill some time with from time to time...

The above sudoku is taken from the webpage Sudoku.com, where there is also a solution.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

10.000 hits

...and let me just post a tiny little post, telling you that this blog just received its 10.000th hit in about three months. Thanks to everyone who has been visiting! Keep up the habit... :-)

Europride 1: Vigelandsanlegget

Once upon a long ago, I promised to write a little about Oslo once in a while as sort of a travel guide. Well, I broke my promise, but I'll try again...

First of all, I'll remind you of that first post where I reminded everyone of the pleasures of the Vigeland sculptures in the Frogner park.

Secondly, I'll remind you of another post, in which I discussed some of the accomodation offers available.

I'll also give a pointer to the post on the National Gallery, with a "review" on the new exhibition.

And while I'm at it, I'll post another picture of the Vigeland sculptures. This is a picture from Aftenposten - and although this is not a normal sight in the park, I do see where the inspiration came from...

Ismail Merchant is dead

Ismail Merchant died suddenly on wednesday (according to Merchant Ivory Productions, among others). He was 68 years old.



I'm saddened by hearing these news. I've appreciated seeing his movies - most of all, of course A Room with a View, which is my favorite movie of all time. But also several other great movies, like Maurice, Howards End and The Remains of the Day.

Ismail Merchant met James Ivory in 1960, and their names are impossible to separate after more than 40 years of collaboration. My thoughts go to James Ivory today, who has lost his longtime partner both in the private and professional life. And I thank Ismail Merchant for all the joy he has brought to lovers of good movies everywhere.

Monday, May 23, 2005

...and now a Norwegian version...

I've just created a new blog - Bjørn på norsk. This new blog (in Norwegian) will be the blog of choice for any posts deemed to be totally uninteresting for anyone outside Norway - while this English-language blog will still be the place for posts deemed to be totally uninteresting for people everywhere...

No, a French version is not planned... :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Eurovision Song Contest: highlights

Yesterday was the final of the Eurovision Song Contest - a strange contest that survives on the tradition and interest from the time when television was a new medium. Now, with all the "new" countries, the program become longer than ever - even though some nations are now removed in a semi-final two days before the final...

Norway did well this year, the 9th place means that Norway will not have to take part in the semi-final next year. This was great - especially considering that the Norwegian song was not really very good.

Here are some of the highlights:
Moldova was a newcomer. Their artists were "Zdob si Zdub". The song was dull, but there was a certain amount of stage nudity which is always helpful.




Cyprus' Constantinos Christoforou was not bad either - although the song was nothing special...



Serbia & Montenegro had a terrible song performed by cute men calling themselves "No name"...



Sweden's Martin Stenmarck didn't do very well - a 19th place, and more importantly: 10 places behind Norway...



And at the end of the long list of songs, it was good to hear a calmer tune - by Latvia's Walters & Kazha. They ended up as my favorites - and did quite well among the international audience as well...



The winner, however, was Greece, with the quite boring song "My number one" - performed by Helena Paparizou. The only good thing to say about it was that there were a few male dancers undressing in the background - although they never got further than opening their shirts...



...and now it's one year until next time...

Lyn - Ham-Kam 1-0

This is not much fun these days... Lyn won, as expected, their match against Ham-Kam today. According to the reports, it was a deserved win. Lyn was awarded a penalty (which seemed ok from the TV pictures) and put the goal.

This means that Ham-Kam has only two teams behind them in the table. Next week, Ham-Kam meets Viking at home. That's another match where I expected a win when the season started, and I'm afraid Viking seems to be in good form at the moment. But as always, there's hope... (Ham-Kam still has five points less than what I expected them to have at this point in the season.)



In other news, Rosenborg is still struggling. Today, 17 year old Per Ciljan Skjelbred got the chance from the start (for the second time in his career) and he played 40 minutes before (deservedly) getting his second yellow card and being sent off. Rosenborg, who was in the lead at that time, ended up making only a draw against Molde, and are now 10 points behind Start.

Roe v Wade -> less crime?

The Economist last week reviewed a book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner called Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. The review ends with the following praise: "Does a stupid title herald a worse-than-average book? Probably - if only because books with bad titles tend to be written by intellectually disadvantaged authors. But if a really clever author were to write a book and give it a really stupid title, it might turn out as well as this one."

An intriguing example from the book is the following: Why did the crime rate in the United States suddenly fall in the end of the 1990s? Of course, several explanations have been given (and are examined in the book), such as economic growth, gun control, new methods of policing, greater reliance on imprisonment, increasing use of the death penalty or the ageing of the population. Levitt, however, offers another explanation: The 1973 Roe v Wade landmark ruling, making abortion legal throughout the US. Which mothers tend to take abortions. The author's answer is "Very often she was unmarried or in her teens or poor, and sometimes all three... In other words, the very factors that drove millions of American women to have an abortion also seemed to predict that their children, had they been born, would have led unhappy and possibly criminal lives." Therefore, it's no surprise that the crime rate should fall about 20-25 after Roe v Wade.

The author does not (as far as I see from the Economist article) that this is a reason for upholding Roe v Wade - I would say that far more fundamental issues are involved there. However, it seems like an interesting use of economics to analyze very real and very important issues that many would regard as far away from economics.

I'll buy the book. And if it's as good as The Economist argues, I'll probably come back to it in this blog...

Friday, May 20, 2005

EuroPride - cheap accomodation?

It's EuroPride in Oslo this year (June 17th to June 27th). I guess people all around Europe are wondering "How will we get cheap accomodation in Oslo during EuroPride?" Sorry, pals, that's about as intelligent a question as asking "Where are the best gay nude beaches in the Vatican?"

I guess that most of the almost-cheap hotel rooms and hostel beds are gone long ago. Another idea, however, is to bring a tent (or even rent one) and stay at one of the camping areas. Ekeberg Camping, for instance, may be worth checking out. Quite close to the city, and with a convenient tram going to town all the time, that should be a good idea.

Another idea is of course to find some pleasant Norwegians to stay with. Gay community Gaysir has a little "campaign" to get people to let in visitors for a few days during EuroPride. (To say that you're interested, however, you have to register, log in and then join the "temagruppe" "Losji-fadder" under Europride - all of which may be a daunting task if you don't know any Norwegian...)

I don't know why people would want to have good-looking gays from all over the world sleeping in their beds during EuroPride. Well, maybe if I think it over once more... :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Movie: I hired a contract killer

Tonight, I went to Cinemateket to see Aki Kaurismäki's movie I hired a contract killer.



Henri Boulanger has a boring job - and in lunch breaks, he sits moodily by himself while the rest of the workers are having fun at the next table. He lives his life in a dirty and uninspiring London. In fact, he doesn't have much to live for at all. Then, suddenly, his life starts to change - for the worse.

The story is told in a low-key fashion, and many would probably be terribly bored. But it is also a hilarious movie, and a tad romantic as well.

And there is a contract killer in the film as well - I can say that without ruining the suspense, I guess?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mad about the boy (James Dean gay)

Mad about the boy: "James Dean was the embodiment of young male vulnerability, heroism and torment. Who would have guessed he was gay? Fifty years after his death, it's all too obvious, argues Germaine Greer"

Not really a surprise (why should James Dean be straight?) but it's always interesting when these things are discussed.



By the way, Germaine Greer also discusses a picture (although I'm not sure it has anything to do with him being gay or straight): "There is a photograph of Dean, stark naked, squatting in a tree above the photographer, knees apart, presenting with a radiant smile what appears to be a truly enormous erection. (Sometimes there are pictorial advantages in being a small man.) I saw this picture in an art gallery some time in the mid-1970s. What's become of it since, I don't know; if anyone out there has a copy I'd love one." Well, it's not often that ads for porn pictures get such a prominent place in the Guardian... :-)

Internet iTunes Registry: My Tracks

I see that Internet iTunes Registry has a new version. In this version, I may even point you to a special page showing what kind of music I listen to. This site gives all sorts of interesting statistics (for me, at least) - for instance, these are my favorite artists, according to the simple formula (total Playcount*avg Rating):

1. deLillos 1,545
2. Beatles 1,231
3. Tre Små Kinesere 1,072
4. Paul McCartney 1,040
5. A-Ha 908
6. R.E.M. 600
7. Ole Paus 550
8. Sondre Lerche 541
9. Sting 535
10.Simon and Garfunkel 483
11.Øystein Sunde 473
12.Lillebjørn Nilsen 456
13.Cranberries 449
14.Alf Prøysen 408
15.Pink Floyd 382

No surprises there - except that more than half of them are Norwegians...

17th of May - Norway's national day

Today is Norway's national day - commemorating the 1814 constitution. The weather was supposed to be terrible, but in Oslo it turned out to be perfect - not too hot but no rain. I got up terribly early to attend some speeches at the graves of Henrik Wergeland, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Henrik Ibsen - a few of Norway's most "important" authors. The best speech (at Henrik Ibsen's grave) were held by an Iraqi actress who are now living in Norway. I liked the way the 17th of May celebrations in Oslo managed to avoid the "Norwegians are best"-attitude that is not always avoided.


The park behind the castle on May 17th, 2005.

Then I walked the streets of the city (with a friend), taking breaks in cafés and had a wonderful time. After a while, we ended up at Grønland, an area where the percentage of people originating in Pakistan is quite high. It was wonderful to see all the stalls selling different kinds of food in the street (a welcome variation from the sausages that are the traditional 17th of May food).



It seems that it will be raining in the evening, though. I'm glad I'm back home...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Ham-Kam - Start 0-2

Not too surprisingly, Start managed to beat Ham-Kam at Hamar today. Ham-Kam dominated the first half, but didn't convert the many chances into goals. Instead, Start took over and won the second half comfortably - thereby taking the lead in the table before Vålerenga plays Fredrikstad later tonight. Thereby, Ham-Kam is five points behind schedule, and is on 11th place on the table - uncomfortably close to the relegation spots.

Next weekend, Ham-Kam will play Lyn away at Ullevål stadion. Lyn did an impressive win away at Odd today, not showing signs of being distracted by all the fuzz with John Obi Mikel. My guess before the season was that Ham-Kam would lose the away match against Lyn, but obviously I'm hoping for a surprise win.

My mobile dictionary

Monday mornings are usually not great, but this monday morning is different - it's a holiday (due to some obscure religious reason, originally). So I have all the time in the world for doing things that are totally needless - such as looking at which words my Sony Ericsson mobile did not originally include, and that I had to key in myself when I wanted to use them. Probably the words I need tell a little about myself, although I don't really want to know what...

I seem to text a lot about places - 21 of the words are names of places and stuff like that: Lutvann Pisa Firenze Two Dogs Bellahøj place yours Theaterkaféen Piazza della Signorina Warszawa Hagelundveien Siena Posthuset Transylvania Rælingen Egertorget spitsbergen auditoriet

I'm also interested in movies, and needed the following 16 words in that connection: Cinemateket birollefigurer Ethan Hawke Hitchcock Untergang Woody aviator Bukowski Closer Days of being wild regard førpremiere

I tend to use a few words that are not really important Norwegian words, but I like nonetheless... 13 words are of that kind: Ååå Oj Nåvel Jepp Nattinatt Ånei Hehe Jøye thæt Nope superduper Flotters måfå

There are 10 music related words: bjørnov deLillos Lerche Julian Berntzen Rockefeller DumDumBoys Idol Alejandro melodisk

And then there are 9 words concerning time: julefeiring nyttårsdag morsdag overimorgen rompåska langfredag helvetesuke allerede plutselig

I'm interested in art - and needed 8 words for that purpose: Uffizi vernissage Yoko Leonardo Vinci Michelangelo Rubens Rembrandt

Some names I needed (7): Phuoc Vegard Sigrun Tussi Haugom Sina Smestad

Some words having to do with travel (6): hjemreisa reiseplanleggings reiseplanene pakkingen mellomlanding snartur

Gambling related (5): lottoen Tipperekkene oddsen oddstippinga veddet

Sports related (4): snooker basketkamp Bærums Verk

Food related (4): lørdagsgodt mørt lunsje spisinga grillet

Alcohol related (3): Guinness utdrikningslaget ølmangel

Weather related (2): varmegrader Regnvær

Clothing related (2): votter skinnvotter

A few words were more difficult to cathegorize:
Verbs: blø kapplese tuller hamstre pugget ljuger avspaserer somle
Adjectives: unummererte treffbar meksikansk skeive guffent vennligsinnet avstandsforelsket gresselig Skeive
Adverbs: oppskakende

And then there are a lot of words that I cannot cathegorize at all:
Economist rødfargen heterofili vaskekjellerens 10000 plusstimer søvnunderskudd tekstmelding kryssordene tørketromler pyntegjenstand forsida nordfra sluttspurten bestemann cure pay Blog Burger Oslopuls monarki igloo polarstjernen cardiff maud britannia nobile finmotorikken dummet omtanken Steria utskeielser vater Nordfra minnekort krøllene dubbet høydene symøte sidemannen tulipan legestudenter HiO baktanke linselusa

Feel free to use these words you too! :-)

Sexy Norwegian

John Andresen has just published a few new pictures on his webpage - this time of a 19 year old boy called "Daniel".



Just to remind you that Norwegians are a treat - to tempt you to come to EuroPride this summer... :-)

RTW 16: Los Angeles

Approaching the end of the trip, I spent a bit less than a week in Los Angeles. I met a Norwegian at the airport in Papeete and ended up next to him in the plane. We ended up going to Universal Studios. (Since then, we've visited each other and kept in touch.) Universal Studios was a lot of fun - the USA just as we believed USA to be when we were younger...

I also spent some time doing work - visiting LessonLab where I had the opportunity to study how history of mathematics is used to improve the teaching of mathematics in eight countries. (This work has later led to an article.) I also visited the UCLA campus. I have no pictures of the offices, but I did enjoy the works of art scattered around the campus. Here's another Miró:



I wouldn't want to live in an American city, but it's great fun to be there for a while to see. I stayed at HI-L.A./Santa Monica which was great (even though I seem to remember that booking the room was quite problematic, and I believe I ended up finding out that they hadn't noted my reservation. There was still room, though, so no problem...)

I also went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, with quite a varied collection. Far too much to see in one go - I particularly liked the guided tours (there were a lot of them throughout the day). And here's one of the nice objects I liked:


(Shiva as the lord of dance)


(And here's the LACMA cafe - viewed from above...)

Staying in Santa Monica, I had to have a look at the beach as well, of course. It wasn't time for bathing yet, but still it was quite pleasant...





All in all, Los Angeles was wonderful, and I might go back some day - I only just touched the surface of what is to see in the city... And next: Montreal...

Previous installments on my trip:
RTW 15: Moorea
RTW 14: Papeete
RTW 13: Auckland
RTW 12: Rotorua
RTW 11: Napier
RTW 10: Wellington
RTW 9: Arthur's Pass
RTW 8: Christchurch
RTW 7: Queenstown
RTW 6: Dunedin
RTW 5: Sydney
RTW 4: Singapore
RTW 3: Mauritius
RTW 2: Réunion
RTW 1: Johannesburg

Sunday, May 15, 2005

PSA about the dangers of wearing a bathing suit

www.cabanatogo.com presents the following Public Service Announcement:

"The following is a Public Service Announcement presented
with the compliments of Cabana To Go

WARNING! Bathing Suits could be a major contributor to drowning deaths! In fact, informal research shows that in 99.9999 % of drowning deaths, the victims were invariably wearing either a bathing suit or some other equally inappropriate article(s) of clothing! Whereas people who avoid the bathing suit, thereby swimming naturally as God intended (so called skinny dippers) tended to tempt this ill fate of accidental drowning far less often and in fact no incident of drowning while naked is virtually undocumented anywhere!

It is no great stretch of the imagination that people who risk the bathing suit also probably make many other equally stupid, life threatening mistakes further contributing to the loss of life. But the bathing suit, or some other articles of clothing alone or in combination seem to be the greatest common denominator among all drowning deaths, so be warned. With a government so avowed to serve and protect us from even our own stupidity such that almost no freedom remains sacred, this researcher is just amazed that there is no government department or program to save us from the peril of the bathing suit. One must wonder just how many more people must die before someone steps in to ban the bathing suit. No doubt the textile/fashion lobby is perhaps even more powerful than government itself and would do anything to thwart such an initiative. Yet any other product that accounts for or is so closely associated with so many deaths annually would immediately come under very strict scrutiny!

At the least there should be this WARNING Label on EVERY bathing suit:
WARNING: besides unsightly tan lines this product has (at the least) been shown to be closely associated with drowning deaths!
Any attempt to try to swim in this thing could result in immediate death!


We need and deserve a Federal Law that prohibits 'swimming while impaired' by bathing suit. Do your bit by swimming naked everywhere and every time. Show your patriotism (among other things) and set a good example for your fellow man by avoiding this fiendish bathing device."


Please follow this advise this summer! (And especially those of you visiting Oslo for the EuroPride festivities...)


(This particular picture from Maenner FKK Bilder.)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Next holiday: Copenhagen

After spending a week in Florence, Italy - and realizing that that was more fun than staying at home in my apartment - I have now decided on my next trip. I'll go to Copenhagen with some friends - but just for a weekend this time. Our main idea is to visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. I went to Louisiana last year as part of an excursion while I was attending the ICME10 conference, but that excursion left only one hour for the museum and a lot of time for less interesting stuff. So I'm looking forward to this trip!

Here's one example of the artwork there: This is a Miró.

Russ nude (naken russ)

VG, Norway's most read "newspaper", today writes that "Folk vil ha nakenruss" ("People want naked russ"). A more accurate headline would be "VG wants to write about naked russ".

As mentioned before, in Norway people celebrate the end of 12 years of schooling by having an orgy of alcohol, nudity and sex, at least according to the newspapers. From the point of view of the youths themselves, there is also some friendship and normal social life involved, and rather less nudity and sex, at least.

The latest orgy of newspaper reporting has to do with three incidents. The first, a few weeks ago, occured when a female russ stripped off all her clothes in front of her fellow russ, in an attempt to be elected "russepresident". This incident has let VG write several articles involving their favorite words - "nude" and "russ".

The second was that Randabergrussen (the russ from Randaberg) published a few pictures of russ having sex. VG chose to write about it but not to publish the pictures. That was a good idea, as that let them write another article today, to say that (surprise!) lots of Norwegian searched for the pictures on the net. (As far as I know the pictures were quite innocent. So innocent, in fact, that I certainly do not break any rules by reposting "the worst" of them here...)



The third incident involved a photo of a russ girl wearing nothing.

What would VG write about if they didn't have these important news to bring us? I don't know. Well, there's always John Obi Mikel as well, of course...

(Se also previous article.)

Coming out to myself

An anniversary is coming up: on May 22nd is the 19th anniversary for me coming out to myself. Obviously, it's difficult to pinpoint such an event accurately, but I've chosen the date when I first mentioned being gay in my diary. I mentioned it after seeing the following picture in a magazine:



Matt Dillon had an impact on me, and I wrote in my diary (among other things) that "I don't know if I'm gay, but he certainly is very sexy. I have no more to say (write), other than that I hope I'm turned on as much by sexy girls."

Well, now, 19 years later, I can assure you that I don't... :-)

Friday, May 13, 2005

What happens to Obi Mikel?

The main story in the Norwegian press this week is the transfer dispute over John Obi Mikel. He has just celebrated his 18th birthday, and now he finds himself involved in a quarrel between his current club, Lyn, his club-to-be(?), Manchester United, another club with some unknown ties to him, Chelsea, and a host of different agents. Noone seems to know who is "the bad guy", but for an outsider the whole thing stinks - there are just too many people who are too interested in the money involved, and who all in all seem too little occupied with thinking of this young boy's best. Sad story...



Monday, May 09, 2005

Lillestrøm - Ham-Kam 1-0

Ham-Kam lost their away match at Åråsen, not surprisingly. This means that they are still two points behind (my) schedule, and that the bottom of the table is approaching.

The next opponent is Start at Briskeby. Yesterday, Start beat Odd with 4-0, and is therefore still number two on the table. However, I still hope Ham-Kam will take the three points that I expected before the season started...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

ABCs of Music

ABCs of Music:

List your favorite bands from A to Z.


A. a-ha
B. The Beatles
C. Cranberries
D. deLillos
E. Eurythmics
F. Fool's Garden
G. Gitarkameratene
H. Hellbillies
I. Imperiet
J. Jokke & Valentinerne
K. Knutsen & Ludvigsen
L. Leningrad Cowboys
M. The Mamas & The Papas
N. Nirvana
O. Oasis
P. Pink Floyd
Q. Queen (for lack of alternatives)
R. The Rainmakers
S. Savage Garden
T. Tre små kinesere
U. UB40
V. Vamp
W. Waterboys
X. -
Y. Ym: stammen
Z. -
Æ. -
Ø. -
Å. -

Tuscan trip 16

(Florence, Italy - April 25th, 2005)

I'm on my way home... I'm sitting in the train bound for Pisa Aeroporte at Pisa Centrale. It's time to sum things up. It's been a nice week, just as expected.

One of the highlights is no doubt the three Davids - the Michelangelo, the Donatello and the Verrocchio. It's amazing how different these three artists conceived of David. Two are nude, two are young, two include the head of Goliath, two are bronzes. I probably prefer Michelangelo's version, even though that one diverges the most from the story in the bible.

Another highlight: the Leonardo in the Uffizi. Only a few of Leonardo's paintings survive, so I felt overwhelmed by standing a few feet away from one of them. Actually, it was more like one foot... [Of course I'm aware that the Uffizi has two Leonardos - one finished and one unfinished.]

More highlights? Sure, the days were full of small highlights. I should surely mention the Ponte Vecchio and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Will I come back? Maybe. But there are other places higher on the list. Venice, of course. I also want to see the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. And the pyramids of Egypt. And the nature of Svalbard. I won't run out of places to go just yet... :-)

Here's a list of the posts on this trip:
Tuscan trip 1: Pisa
Tuscan trip 2: Pope and porn
Tuscan trip 3: Italian traffic
Tuscan trip 4: Pisa 2
Tuscan trip 5: Florence 1
Tuscan trip 6: Florence 2
Tuscan trip 7: Florence 3
Tuscan trip 8: new pope
Tuscan trip 9: Florence 4
Tuscan trip 10: Florence 5
Tuscan trip 11: Florence 6
Tuscan trip 12: Florence 7
Tuscan trip 13: Florence 8 (Bargello)
Tuscan trip 14: Florence 9
Tuscan trip 15: Siena

Tuscan trip 15: Siena

(Florence, Italy - April 24th, 2005)

I'm sitting in a train in the train station in Siena, waiting for the train to leave for Florence. I considered going to Venice today, but when I realized it would take about three hours each way - which would leave only three or four hours in that magnificent city - I opted for Siena. And that's good because Venice deserves to see me in a better mood than this...

I've spent only three hours in Siena (less than what I spent in the Uffizi), so my impression is quite superficial. I've seen a few wonderful buildings and lots of narrow, charming streets.

My feet hurts. It's good to be back in the train... :-)

Oslo's National Gallery

This is some kind of religious holiday in Norway, which meant that I finally had the time to visit the National Gallery (Nasjonalgalleriet) and their new permanent exhibition, called "Art 1" ("Kunst 1"). "Art 2" is in the Museum of Modern Art.

"Art 1" is a radical departure from the earlier exhibition. While the previous one was far more chronological (and with Norwegian and foreign artworks mostly in different parts of the museum), this one is more thematical, putting old and new, Norwegian and foreign next to each other. This is refreshing. I'll claim that it's especially the modern art that benefits from being seen in a historical context.

However, putting in a lot of (more) modern art means that lots of the previous permanent collection has been removed. It's a strange kind of sadness to walk through the well-known rooms of the gallery, expecting to see a favorite but finding that it's no longer on display. But this may be better when large areas of the museums that are so far closed, reopens.

One of the areas of the gallery that I miss, is the room with all the sculptures - mostly copies from Greece or Rome. The room also had copies of Donatello's and Verrocchio's Davids. I miss it... However, there was another room devoted to sculpture, in which the sculptures were relegated to the floor. Instead of looking up at them, you could walk around them and be on an even footing with them. Nice.

At times, the people behind the exhibition have been just a bit too creative for my taste. What's the idea behind putting Ludvig Eikaas' "Jeg" in the roof, where most people will probably not see it? And while I'm critizising - the guide book I bought in the gallery had a few errors - the worst of which was reproducing the wrong painting where Johs. Rian's "Okkupasjon" should have been.

But all in all, I'm quite pleased with the new arrangements. The collection is of course a strong one, with all major Norwegian artists represented (and a very strong collection of Munch's, including a version of Scream and Madonna that have not been stolen) and with works by many international names (Picasso, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Degas, Moore...)

My favorites are (in no particular order):

Anne Karin Furunes: Unknown German II

Harald Sohlberg: Vinternatt i Rondane


Lars Utne: Gutten med beltet

Erik Werenskiold: En bondebegravelse


Edvard Munch: Pubertet


Edvard Munch: Badende gutter


Edvard Munch: Madonna

Tuscan trip 14: Florence 9

(Florence, Italy - April 23nd, 2005)

After Bargello, I've spent most of the day tucked up in bed (alone, thank you) trying to get better. But then I realized that I should see the Boboli garden before leaving Florence. It's nice. A bit too much walking after staying in bed for so long (and not eating much), but well worth the effort. Some nice statues to see, and it's also very good to see some grass and some trees.

Now I'm having a cappuchino in the Palazzo Pitti. I should probably have seen the masterworks here as well, but I feel that I'd better go get some dinner (if possible - if necessary, it will be McDonald's), and then say hello to a nice pillow of mine again.

It's depressing to be ill while in Florence, but it would have been really depressing if it had lasted all week...

Ham-Kam - Fredrikstad 1-1

Fredrikstad managed a lucky 1-1 against Ham-Kam today. Cutie Martin Wiig managed to score a goal in the second half - one of Fredrikstad's first chances - after Ham-Kam throwing away lots of chances. In my book, Ham-Kam should have won this match, and they're now 2 points behind my schedule (which is supposed to end up with a 8th place in the league).


Martin Wiig (barechested) with Per Egil Ahlsen

On Sunday, Ham-Kam will play Lillestrøm away. Lillestrøm beat Odd away today, and is not an easy team to play (and I have reckoned Ham-Kam will lose this match).


Espen Søgård, Magnus Powell and Pål Strand - after a loss last year.

Tuscan trip 13: Florence 8 (Bargello)

(Florence, Italy - April 23nd, 2005)

I skipped the Ponte Vecchio by sunset, preferring to stay at the hotel and tend to my sore throat. This morning, however, I felt like doing some sight-seeing again, so I went to the Bargello. There was no queue at 8.15 (when they opened), the audio guide was good and the highlights of the museum were great (see list below). Loved it!

Here's a list of my Top Four favorites (in no particular order):

Donatello's David:


The Sala Bronzeth, for instance Antonio Pollaiuolo: Ercole e Anteo:


Verrochio's David:


Giambologna: Mercurio:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Who should I vote for?

Well, I actually don't have a vote in Britain, as I've only been there for two weeks in my entire life. But anyway, when seeing this thing in the Whatevasista blog, I decided to give it a try...

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for? v2

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat


Your actual outcome:



Labour -2     
Conservative -10     
     Liberal Democrat 29
UKIP -6     
     Green 23


You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For