Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Biel Tournament



After being out of touch with the world for two weeks (on holiday), it is great to see that things are working out fine - for instance for Magnus Carlsen, who is in the lead in the Biel International Chess Festival. At the moment of writing, he seems to have a bit of trouble with white against Pelletier, though, but I hope he has a plan...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Norwegian soccer players nude

Dagbladet writes about the new photos from John Andresen, this time of Norwegian soccer players Christian Brink and Lars Kristian Eriksen. "I just wanted to try something new, to have a new experience," Eriksen says to Aftenposten.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Linus Gerdemann

It's cool to see 24 year old Linus Gerdemann winning today's Tour de France stage and getting the yellow jersey. It's very cool that some people dare to break away from the rest and manage to keep their lead all the way to the end. This year's Tour seems to be more interesting than previously - let's just hope that most of the cheating people are out of the sport now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Prediction markets

Prediction markets are cool. At the moment, I'm looking at Intrade, to see what it is all about. The simple idea is a betting market on current events, which can also be used as a prediction tool (as seeing where people are willing to put their money is a way of getting to know their collective beliefs).

For instance, on the US 2008 Presidential Election, the current standing is this:
Clinton 25.9%
Obama 23.0%
Giuliani 19.0%
Thompson 18.4%
Romney 8.0%
Gore 4.8%
Bloomberg 4.3%
Edwards 3.9%
McCain 3.3%

This seems to add up to more than 100%, which seems a good opportunity for a bet, by the way...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Some useless statistics

I've finished putting datas into my database of all the movies I've seen - so far I've seen 1268 movies since January, 1981. So it's time for some useless statistics:

In 1997 I saw 135 movies - this year I've only seen 21 so far, what a disaster!

I've seen 745 dramas, 562 comedies, 235 romances, 175 thrillers,... and only 27 westerns.

I've seen mostly movies from the 90s (62 from 1996, for instance). 578 movies are from the US, 153 from UK, 86 from Norway, 85 from France, 43 from Italy, 38 from Sweden... In all, 57 countries are represented on the list.

The actors most represented is Woody Allen (21), Harrison Ford (14), Peter Sellers (13) and Antonio Banderas, James Earl Jones, Clint Eastwood, Eddie Murphie, Jack Nicholson and Paul Newman (11 each).

Directors: Woody Allen (22), Pier Paolo Pasolini and Pedro Almodovar (11), Richard Linklater, James Ivary and Alfred Hitchcock (8 each).

Of the 1268 movies, only 15 got top score. I think I've got restrictive over the years - the last movie to get a top score was Shrek (in 2001).

I see that it's a bit strange to have a list of all movies you've seen, but now that I have actually done it, it feels quite cool too...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All movies I've seen...

Finally, I've been able to create an "online database" of all movies I've ever seen (up to 2005, that is). Have a look if you wish!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Skibladner

This weekend, I also went on a boattrip with Skibladner from Hamar to Lillehammer. Skibladner is the oldest paddlesteamer in operation, and it has worked its way up and down lake Mjøsa since 1856.

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The trip from Hamar to Lillehammer took about four hours, and on board we enjoyed a great meal, salmon as main course and strawberries as dessert - the traditional Skibladner meal. All the way, we had beautiful Hedmark on our right-hand side, and it all was wonderful.

For lots more photos, check my Skibladner photos on Flickr.

Art: Lillehammer Kunstmuseum

Lillehammer Kunstmuseum is a museum that got a boost in connection with the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. This summer, it has an exhibition of paintings and other artworks by Anders Zorn (1860-1920) - called "The joy of holding a paintbrush". Zorn is most famous for his many female nudes (not my cup of tea...), but he also had other topics, for instance exploring the social circumstances of the poor. However, the exhibition did not make me a Zorn fan.

The permanent exhibition, however, was a relevation. I had no idea that so many paintings of "famous" Norwegian artists had found their museum in Lillehammer. The most prominent of these is Edvard Munch, the only Norwegian painter that can really be called "famous" world-wide. But other important Norwegian artists were also richly represented: J. C. Dahl, Hans Gude, Adolph Tidemand, Erik Werenskiold, Eilif Peterssen, Christian Krohg and Frits Thaulow, to mention a few. Of course, for many of these artists, even better works are to be found in the National Gallery in Oslo, but still, it was interesting. I don't mind going back later to have a closer look at this collection.

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Oslo - the capital of Scandinavia?

According to Aftenposten, there was an article in Svenska Dagbladet some time ago, in which some Swede (Kristina Axén) called Stockholm "the capital of Scandinavia". Obviously, immediately people started to argue that that "honour" should go to Oslo, Copenhagen or Helsinki, respectively.

I started to think of this again when visiting Helsinki last week (the last of the four capitals I hadn't visited yet). What does the title "capital of Scandinavia" really mean? I realised that for me, there are a few things that are important, and a few things that are not. Population, for instance, is irrelevant to me - congestion is not a positive thing in itself. Far more important for me, is the quality of the art museums. A city with good art museums will always be interesting to visit, no matter how drab the rest of the city might be. And in that respect, I've come to realise that Oslo is better than its Scandinavian "competitors".

At this, many will complain. Art museums, they will say, are just a tiny bit of what a city can offer. And that's just the point. Oslo may be the capital of Scandinavia when it comes to art, Stockholm when it comes to something else (I don't know what, though - maybe ABBA museums?), while Helsinki may be the capital of design. Every man, his capital. Every subject, another ranking.

Which makes the whole "capital" discussion impossible. But of course it is nice if cities strive and struggle to be interesting in as many ways as possible.

Art: Art in Helsinki

I've been to two art museums in Helsinki: Kiasma and Ateneum.

The Kiasma was certainly in the most impressive building - I liked it quite a lot. The art inside, however, was mostly unimpressive contemporary art. Therefore, I'll first show two photos of the building, outside and inside:

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The three exhibitions on display were "Time of the Storytellers", "Landscape in Kiasma's collections" and "Top Secrets of Finland". Instead of boring anyone with why I didn't find these interesting, I'll note one artwork I liked better than the others: this work shows how Ukrainians have started to use one particular color for almost all purposes, as a subtle protest against the Soviet era's use of red. Cool.

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The Ateneum was the other major art museum we visited. Both are situated right in the centre of Helsinki, near the railway station. The Ateneum had a considerable permanent exhibition of Finish artists, but the temporary exhibition called "Music and Silence. Finnish Symbolism" was (surprisingly) more interesting to me. It covers the interesting period in which the photography was threatening the traditional form of art - in which depictions of reality could be seen as a goal in itself, and in which artists struggled to express emotions more vividly in their paintings. Some of the paintings in this exhibition was both radical and wonderful.


Magnus Enckell (1870-1925) - Faun (1914)

The museum also included what the museum calls Finland's best-known paintings (both by Akseli Gallen-Kallelan):

It is always funny to ponder what the country's most famous painting tells about the country - US's "American Gothic" and Denmark's "Hip, Hip, Hurra", for instance, not to mention Norway's "Scream"... In this comparison, Finland's "masterpieces" seem a bit bleak, but not too bad...


All in all: two moderately interesting museums, well worth a visit for anyone more than averagely interested in art...

Hostel in Helsinki

Last week, I was in Helsinki, Finland for a few days. I think I should note the Domus Academica where we stayed. It is a summer hotel/hostel that is affordable and with good quality. It is within walking distance from "everything" in Helsinki, and it was particularly good that the hostel has it's own sauna and swimming pool. Great!




(The second photo is not from Domus Academica.)

I even went from shop to shop to get some swimwear for the swimming pool - totally unneccesary. As the time was divided according to sex, swimwear was not worn...

Roskilde nude run 2007

In this years Roskilde nude run, the winner was - as the last three years - Magnus.




(Pictures from Side2.)



Nude run 2005
Nude run 2006

Nude bath at Roskilde

According to Dagbladet, the rain and mud at Roskilde has made it difficult to keep clean. The solution? A nice nude bath...

Movie: The Queen



It must be amazing to get a position for life - especially when you never really expected it, and it just was thrown upon you. Although this movie concerns the weeks after Diana's death, actually it is a portrait of the Queen, Elizabeth II, and her reactions (or at least: what could have been her reactions), as the people mourned a person so foreign to her.

I think the Queen is portrayed wonderfully, and that the movie gives yet another opportunity to reflect on what strange idea the monarchy is - in our modern day of (presumably) one man - one vote democracy. I enjoyed the movie very much.





The Queen (2006)
Directed by Stephen Frears

Main actors:
Helen Mirren as The Queen
Michael Sheen as Tony Blair


Index

Sunday, July 01, 2007

More photos from parade

Here are some more photos from this year's pride parade in Oslo - from dinside.no
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