Saturday, September 30, 2006

deLillos in concert



Last evening, there was a great concert at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo. Although it's the fifth time I hear deLillos in concert, it's the first time with the "original" set-up. The music was partly from the good newest record, "Suser videre", and partly from their first album, "Suser avgårde", with only a few songs from other records.

Obviously, the crowd were particularly wild when deLillos played their biggest hits, "Tøff i pysjamas", "Sveve over byen" and "Hjernen er alene", but new songs such as "Jørgensen", also got a enthusiastic reception.

deLillos is, for me, the most important Norwegian band, and I will certainly go to more of their concerts...



Here are the deLillos studio albums I've got, with my verdict in parenthesis:
1985: Suser avgårde (4,0 stars)
1987: Før var det morsomt med sne (3,1)
1989: Hjernen er alene (4,0)
1990: Svett smil (3,5)
1991: Varme mennesker (3,3)
1993: Neste sommer (4,0)
1995: Sent og tidlig (3,5)
1997: Stakkars (3,6)
1999: Kast alle papirene (3,3)
2002: Midt i begynnelsen (3,5)
2006: Suser videre (3,3)

(Where *** is "Good but not very" and **** is "I want to listen to this a lot".)

Movie: Ballet russes





The movie Ballet russes is a fascinating glimpse into the world of mid-20th century ballet. I'm not a big ballet fan myself, but this movie worked fine even without the insight of an expert. It must be said that the movie didn't really focus on the dance in itself anyway, but was more interested in the personalities and the business side of Ballet Russes.

Seeing the dancers in footage from their youth and then in interviews from today was fascinating. These were some of the most dashingly beautiful people in their youth. Today, they may be less dashing, but no less interesting.

Index

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Approaching 100,000 hits...

This blog is approaching 100,000 hits, so I thought it would be fun to see which blog postings made most of an impact. Before checking that, I had a theory that it might not be my postings on visits to obscure art exhibitions that created the most visits. I was right. (I must note that many, many of my visitors go to the front page or to the monthly archives - here, I only count the ones going directly to a single post)

1. Russ nude (naken russ)


2. Soccer players nude


Already, there is a sign that a lot of internet users search for the word "nude" a lot... :-)

3. Adoption: Rupert Graves


4. The John Obi Mikel story goes on


5. Per Ciljan for the national team?


6. A nice swim after a hard match


7. No more nude photos? (Ice hockey player Ygranes)


8. What happens to Obi Mikel?


9. Sports: Roskilde nude run


10. John Obi Mikel

Number 10 on this list has had 185 unique visitors. However, what is a tiny bit depressing is that half of my postings has had less than 7 unique visitors - not counting the ones who read the posts on the front page or in the monthly archives.

While I'm writing up lists - here are the top 3 visited postings on art:

1. Art: Vinternatt i Rondane by Harald Sohlberg


2. Oslo's National Gallery


3. Tom Sachs

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rosenborg-Sandefjord 2-5

Okay, I will try not to write too much about Norwegian soccer, but when Rosenborg, the dominant team throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s lost 2-5 at home against Sandefjord, it deserves a mention. Rosenborg was the favorite to win the Norwegian cup, and also started to look a likely winner of the series, but with this semi final exit from the cup, their chances of a double was shattered in a humiliating way. Which is always funny for people like me, who wants Rosenborg's dominance to be even less...


Rosenborg's Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Andreas Nordvik earlier in the season.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where Abel died


Where Abel died
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
This week, I've been to a conference near Grimstad. On Tuesday, we went on an excursion to Froland Verk, where Niels Henrik Abel (one of the world's best mathematicians) spent so much time during the last year of his life, and where he died (from tuberculosis) in 1929, only 26 years old.

The photo is from the room where he died. At the time of his death, a letter from Berlin offering him a job was already sent, but didn't reach Froland until after his death. He never could marry his girlfriend Christine, because he didn't have a steady job.

The rest of the conference focused on children with mathematical difficulties and other topics of interest for mathematics educators - all of it was very interesting (and a bit less depressing than the visit to Abel's deathbed and his grave).

New bug in iPod software

I have updated iTunes to version 7.0 and my iPod software to version 1.2. I regret it. There is one small, but quite irritating bug, in the new software.

Let me first say how I normally use my iPod: I subscribe to several interesting podcasts (for instance interviews from BBC and the programs from Podictionary). Many of them are quite short (less than 15 minutes), so I have made a playlist called "Short podcasts" that I listen to when I'm walking to work or around town. (That is far superior to having to choose another one every 5-10 minutes...)

Now, a bug in iPod (or "feature", as Apple will certainly call this bug), means that I cannot play the entire playlist. Instead, I have to choose one programme at a time. The "play" button is simply not working when I'm pointing at the playlist "Short podcasts" in the menu.

It may not seem a big deal, but it is a bit annoying to have to pick up the iPod and flick through the menu 3-4 times while walking to work - and then again on my way home. If I had been driving a car, I would have to park it 3-4 times on the way to work...

I sure hope that there will be an update fixing this bug really soon...

Summer fashion

Again, it's time to try to deny the fact that winter and snow is approaching, and to start planning for next season. Here are a few photos of summer fashion for men. Some of the men have obviously been wearing too much for part of the summer...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Out Games Montreal

Chris Geary has lots of photos from Out Games in Montreal. It's nice to see gay men of all colours, shapes and forms meeting for sports...



...and in different news, the Spring 2007 swimsuits are ready. That's good - I'm always afraid that the summer season will appear without new ideas for swimwear (although I tend to prefer to swim without any, of course...)



(From NY Mag.)

Cool blog


Street Basketball 02
Originally uploaded by Blue Fin.
...just a little notice to mention Rants, Raves, and Rice Mania, a cool blog that I've just noticed. He has just moved to Oslo and has fun walking around with his camera - never a bad idea...

(The photo is one of the photos this guy has taken in Oslo - good work...)

Norwegians don't want to study in the US

A new master thesis from the University of Oslo shows that one of the reasons Norwegian students don't want to study in the US, is George Bush, writes Aftenposten.

Among pupils who in 2006 considered to take a Bachelor or Masters degree abroad, but who didn't want to study in the US, US foreign policy under George W Bush was one of the most decicive factors. "This shows that the US has become less attractive during Bush's presidency", says the author of the master thesis, Andreas Gjone.

Actually, this is nothing new. Norwegians have always had a tendency not to want to study in countries which does not uphold basic human rights. The only new things is that the US under Bush has moved into that category.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lego art


152_5225_r1
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
An interesting and fun project is going on in the backyard of the National Gallery of Oslo now. Lots and lots and lots of Lego bricks are put in a pile, and everyone is invited to build their own buildings - theoretically to show how they would like a new museum to look like. In this photo, a young man is concentrating on his creation - probably sitting in a pile of toys for the first time in years...

The artist behind all of this is Olafur Eliasson.

Art: Autumn exhibition (updated)

Yesterday, I finally got my act together and went to see "Høstutstillingen" (the Autumn Exhibition), mention in an earlier post. It was almost as expected - after all, the exhibition consists mostly of unknown artists from a small nation, so there were plenty of mediocre works. But there were one or two interesting works as well.

One of them was the work I've mentioned earlier on this blog: Lamin Chorr Nilsen's «...Meanwhile, somewhere deep, deep in the jungle». This is a work which tries to discuss the image of African men.



Another one was a painting of a newspaper bill - the kind of everyday object that we normally don't like very much, and that we throw away as soon as we have taken care of it. Now it of course got another I'm afraid I didn't notice who was the artist of that one.

The whole thing was part of a "culture night", where lots of museums and other things were open until midnight. That's a very cute concept, and I'm happy that Oslo has also seen that point (I had the fortune to visit Frankfurt's Museumsnacht earlier). The other things we did, was to go to Akershus castle, which is beautiful by night, and to listen to a short talk in the National Gallery. It was a great night!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The injured Munch paintings

According to Dagbladet, the Munch paintings "The Scream" and "Madonna", that had been missing for two years, will be exhibited as they are for a short period before being restored. The Munch Museum also released photos of the two paintings in their current state:



I'm looking forward to seeing them again (and in the mean time, I can see other versions in the National Gallery...)

Monday, September 11, 2006

100 Q&As

Yes, I know every single blog have now featured these 100 questions, but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to post them too, does it? I stole them from there is no god, by the way.

1. Do you sleep with your door open or closed?
depends

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
no, not unless I know I'll need some the next place I'm staying

3. Have you ever 'done it' in a hotel room?
sure

4. Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
no

5. Do you like to use post-it notes?
why would I like to use those?

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
"coupons"? That's an American concept, isn't it? We don't really have them here.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
Bees, I guess. Bears hit harder.

9. Do you always smile for pictures?
I usually do.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I try to shrug it off...

11. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
I have no idea.

12. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
no, I have a step counter to do that. (8914 so far today...)

13. Have you ever peed in the woods?
no, I don't think so.

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing?
no

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
no

16. How many people have you slept with this week?
only my boyfriend, of course

17. Do you like popcorn from those big tins?
another mostly American concept... No

18. What is your "Song of the week?
"Du er min supermodell" from deLillos' newest album

19. Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
sure, I do from time to time

20. Do you still watch cartoons?
I mostly read cartoons.

21. What's your favorite scary movie?
don't really like scary movies

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
at my parents' place, maybe

23. What do you drink with dinner?
water, mostly

24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
sweet and sour sauce

25. What is your favorite food?
Indian is good.

26. What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
"A room with a view"

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you?
my boyfriend, of course

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
yes, of course, if the price is right. Then I could give the money to some charity

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter?
you mean, like, with pen and paper? Must be years ago

31. Can you change the oil on a car?
sure I could, if I had a car

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
no

33. Ran out of gas?
no

34. Favorite kind of sandwich?
chicken

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast?
bread and banana - skimmed milk is also necessary

36. What is your usual bedtime?
between 22 and 24

37. Are you lazy?
not really

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for halloween?
yet another American concept. No, as a kid, I don't think I knew halloween existed

39. How old were u?
n/a.

40. How many languages can you speak?
Norwegian and English. Can understand Swedish, Danish, some German, some French, some Dutch. Want to learn Chinese...

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
yes, The Economist

42.Which are better, legos or lincoln logs?
What are "lincoln logs" - another American thing?

43. Are you stubborn?
if I want to...

44. Who is better...Leno or Letterman?
both are ok

45. Ever watch soap operas?
not anymore

46. Afraid of heights?
not more than what is good for me

47. Sing in the car?
no, don't have a car

48. Dance in the shower?
no

49. Dance in the car?
see 47

50. Ever used a gun?
no

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
when I was 18 (for "russebilde")

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy?
no

53. Is Christmas stressful?
just when I don't prepare well enough

54. Ever eat a pierogie?
Yes

55. Favorite fruit pie?
Fruit pies are not favorites

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
don't remember. Accountant, maybe

57. Do you believe in ghosts?
no, and not gods either

58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?
yes, some times. That's natural

59. Take a vitamin daily?
yes

60. Wear slippers?
sometimes

62. What do you wear to bed?
nothing

63. First real concert?
Vazelina Bilopphøggers, I guess

64. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart?
no, these are American stores

65. Nikes or Adidas?
neither

66. Cheetos Or Fritos?
Still more American brands...

67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?
sunflower

68. who is the last person you hugged?
still my boyfriend...

69. Ever take dance lessons?
no

70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
whatever makes him happy.

71. Can you curl your tongue?
no

72. Ever won a spelling bee?
no - that is YET ANOTHER American concept...

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
no

74. Own any record albums?
yes

75. Own a record player?
no

76. Do you ever burn incense?
no

77. Ever been in love?
yes

78. Who would you like to see in concert?
deLillos. Luckily, I will (again) in a few weeks

80. Hot tea or cold tea?
hot

81. Tea or coffee?
coffee

82. Favorite kind of cookie?
chocolate chip

83.Can you swim well?
yes

84.Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose?
yes

85. Are you patient?
i think so

86. DJ or band, at a wedding?
DJ

88. Ever have plastic surgery?
no

89. Which are better black or green olives?
olives? no thanks

90.Can you knit or crochet?
i used to know how to knit.

91. Best room for a fireplace?
the living room

92. Do you want to get married?
yes. to my boyfriend

93. If married, how long have you been married?
n/a

94. Who was your childhood crush?
there were more than one

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
no

96. Do you have kids?
no

97. Do you want kids?
don't know

98. What's your favorite color?
blue

99. Do you miss anyone right now?
no

100. Who do you wanna see right now?
my boyfriend

Well, this must be utterly meaningless to anyone who is not me. But to me, it was not as boring as it might seem. The answer to many questions was "my boyfriend", which shows how much he means to me. A few other questions were too American, which is interesting: so many of the small things in life are different from one culture to another, even between cultures so close as the European and the American.

That's all, folks!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bench by the lake


152_5212
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
Mostly a lazy Sunday, this. I've been sleeping, eating and reading the newspaper all day (and kissing my boyfriend in between...) The only attempt to be active was to walk round Steinbruvann again. Here's one of the pics I got.

This has been a great weekend, by the way. A (free!) concert with Norwegian rock greats Dum Dum Boys on Friday (and even just 10 minutes walk from home), a great play in the National theatre on Saturday and a lazy Sunday. What more could one want?

Against the order of nature?

In the middle of October, The University of Oslo's Museum of Natural History will open an exhibition called "Mot naturens orden? Homoseksualitet i dyreriket" (Against the order of nature? Homosexuality of animals". In their folder for the new season, they write "Homosexuality among animals range from the frivolous to the necessary, from casual affairs to lifelong relationships, and shows us that "natural" may not mean what we think it does".



Personally, I've always been impatient with the use of "natural" in discussions about gay issues - very little I do (such as sitting by a computer posting in my blog) is "natural", so "natural" is not a meaningful word to use in a discussion of whether what I do is right or wrong. Nonetheless, it is refreshing to realize that homosexuality is also very "natural".

("Normal" is another word I have no patience with. Being a teacher of mathematics in teacher education is not a very common thing - there are probably only about 50 people doing it in all of Norway. Which means that that is far less "normal" than being gay. Therefore, "normal" is not a meaningful word in that discussion either...)

I'm looking forward to the exhibition, and will surely report back later...

Theatre: Gynt



There is a Ibsen festival going on in Oslo, and so far I've seen a mediocre "Byggmester Solness" ("The Master Builder"), a tolerable "Lille Eyolf" ("Little Eyolf", of course) and a "Fruen fra havet" ("The Lady from the Sea") trying to be interesting. Today, there was a highlight, when I saw Betty Nansen's "Gynt". This was a very free adaption of Peer Gynt, with rap, stand up, theatre etc. At times hilarious, at times serious and very rarely boring, this may very well be the best Ibsen I'll see this year (although I still have a critically acclaimed "Hedda Gabler" left - as well as the major success "Henrik Ibsen's collected works in 68 minutes"...) It will probably also be the only Ibsen play this year where I see an actor kissing someone in the audience, or where the word "blow job" is used in the play...

My boyfriend saw the three o'clock performance, and liked it so much he bought me a ticket to the nine o'clock one... I don't mind at all...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Art: Autumn salon

Every year, there is a special art exhibition in Norway - a tradition from the 1880s. Everyone may send artworks to the exhibition, and a jury has the thankless task of sifting through the mediocre to find what is a bit better than mediocre.

Every year, the newspapers report on the exhibition, but rarely do they think it's any good. And every year, I decide that THIS YEAR, finally, I will go there to see for myself. I've decided that this year as well. I just haven't had the time yet...


Lamin Chorr Nilsen - «...Meanwhile, somewhere deep, deep in the jungle».

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brattleboro nudity (again)

For a modest, Norwegian blogger like me, it is interesting to see that an Italian webpage has translated my posting on Brattleboro nudity, and that (at the time of writing) 18 people have commented. I almost feel famous... :-)

Some of the comments (as far as my Italian allows me to comprehend) ridicules me for my view that nudity should not be regarded as a crime. Of course, I agree that my posting was a bit provocative (I do agree that it would be possible to fight nudity AND violence at the same time), but I do think there are significant differences of opinion hidden behind the provocative language. To me, nudity (in itself) can never become lewd or immoral. Banning nudity raises interesting "philosophical" questions - to what degree should behaviour that is harmless in itself be banned because others feel embarrassed by the behaviour?

(Actually, Norway is in the same legal position as Brattleboro. There are no laws against public nudity.)

I see a distant connection to the recend "Mohammad drawings controversy" in this as well. In that case, people provoked Muslims while hiding behind the banner of free speech. Here, people are provoking "nudity-dislikers" while hiding behind the banner of the right to dress or undress the way one wants to. In both cases, the provocations should be allowed, but at the same time, most people would refrain from exercising their rights, because provocations just for the fun of it, is a bit childish.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Brattleboro nudity



According to Dagbladet, so many young people have started to hang out nude in the US town Brattleboro, that autorities have started talking about making public nudity illegal. It sounds like a stupid, intrusive-government idea to me. Ian Bigelow puts it like this to Reuters: "We have a nuclear power station a few miles away, a stupid war in the Middle East, countries are bombed. So why is it such a big problem that we choose to be nude?" The obvious question is: If you can't (or won't) do anything about the real problems, at least try to do something about something else, to show you do at least do something...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hungary - Norway 1 - 4

Norway did a great job in yesterday's match against Hungary, and thereby started the qualifying for the 2008 European Championship in a very good way. Norway had total control throughout the match, and Hungary's lone goal came after a misjudged penalty. Three of Norway's goals came as a result of offensive play putting Hungary's defenders under pressure, while Morten Gamst Pedersen's 3-0 goal was a moment of brilliance by the striker.



The standings are now:

Group C - Played - Points
Bosnia-Herzegovina (42) - 1 - 3
Norway (49) - 1 - 3
Greece (32) - 1 - 3
Turkey (28) - 0 - 0
Moldova (73) - 1 - 0
Malta (122) - 1 - 0
Hungary (80) - 1 - 0
(Fifa world ranking in parenthesis)

Norway is meeting Moldova in Oslo on Wednesday - that may easily become a much more frustrating match, as Moldova may be a lot more defensive than what Hungary tried to be yesterday.

Ibsen stolen


151_5177
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
According to VG, this sculpture of Henrik Ibsen, placed outside the Ibsen Museum in Oslo, was stolen several days ago. It was found some days later. This is the fourth in a series of sculptures that have been stolen or in other ways attacked in Oslo this summer.

(See my story on August 10th about the Trygve Lie sculpture.)


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Niobide Blessé (Louvre)


Niobide Blessé (Louvre)
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
It's about time I write some more about flickr again. It has taken up lots of hours lately, as I have added all the pictures I've ever taken with a digital camera, and have sorted and tagged them. I've also spent some time looking at other people's photos, adding my photos to groups and voted on photos and so on.

I do feel that I learn more about what is a truly good photo in this way - and I realize that I have taken extremely few of them myself. (Of my more than 4000 photos on Flickr, there is only one or two that I still regard as very good - although I of course still like lots of my other photos for the memories they bring.)

Not everything comes down to excellent photography, though. This photo, taken in Louvre, is not particularly outstanding, but it seems that the fact that it is a photo of a nude, young man, makes it popular. It is about to become my most viewed photo so far...

Anyway, flickr has provided a new way for me to learn about photography, to organize my own collection and to get others' view on my photos. I love it!


Movie: Volver



I've just seen Pedro Almodovar's newest movie, Volver. He has become one of my favorite directors after "All about my mother" and other masterpieces. This time, one main topic is death and remembrance, and Almodovar treats it like noone else could. The actresses (there are almost no males in this movie) are perfect - and won a deserved award in Cannes. And the story evolves from the mundane to the supernatural to the... no, I can't say more about that. Watch it!



Index

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dressed/undressed

Ewoud Broeksma is keeping up his interesting photography work - not the least interesting is his Dressed/Undressed series - here is Patrick:

Lovely ad



This ad, from Norwegian "Ungdomstelefonen", is easily my favorite ad of all time. And after I started holding lectures for teacher students on the topic of fighting homophobia in schools, I've been using this as an introduction on the topic of heteronormativity. (Don't you think most people who haven't seen this before, guess wrong on the object of the boy's desire?)

Norwegian television corporation TV2 denied showing this film in the holiday season a few years ago, arguing that the holidays were not a time for controversies. Luckily, TV2's boss later overruled his narrow-minded workers, and decided that the holidays are not times for narrow-mindedness, but for love.