Archive for September, 2007

Terje, having woken up from his long lasting coma (or something to the same effect), has started blogging again. For some reason he’s tagged me to tell you seven personal things about me, and seeing as I’m a very silly person, the things you’ll be hearing is also pretty unusual.

I like to sing. I know what you’re thinking – that’s not particularly silly, now is it? Well, that depends really on what and where you’re singing. I especially enjoy singing when I’m working out or simply going from one place to another, or really just when I feel like it (which is quite often). What’s more is that I’m a terrible singer. Simon Cowell would shake his head if we ever met – and that’s before I even opened my mouth. But life would be very dull if one couldn’t sing one’s heart out now and again. At least that’s how I feel about the matter.

I can remember damn near everything. Which in turn means that I know a lot more about people and things than folk usually give me credit for (except some people who think I know absolutely everything, which is a very silly statement indeed). But the silly thing about this gift of mine isn’t that I can use it to memorize a textbook in a single read-trough, but that I more often than not end up knowing the entire lyrics for the latest e.g. Sugababe hit single, just because I heard it on the radio the other morning.

My imagination is crazy. At times its so crazy that even I can’t interpret it. This is why I tend to be laugh at the most innocuous moments. This also probably says something important about my psyche, but that’s a door that shall remain closed. Much nastiness awaits in those dusty nooks.

I’m a story topper. Tell an impressive story and I’ll tell an even better, mostly fabricated one. Which, you know, is only a nice way of saying that I’m bloody liar. I had this worse when I was younger and have managed to wean myself of the habit more and more. Which, of course, is just a euphemism for saying that I’ve gotten better at lying.

I get these weird ideas… like, if my football team wins a game when I didn’t shower for the two previous days (don’t ask), I’d most likely try to replicate the circumstances when the next game draws near. ‘Tis a smelly feat, but soooo worth it ^^

Everyday rituals… When I don’t do things the way I always do them; I get crabby. This also goes when someone else doesn’t do things like they normally do. Maybe it’s a light case of OCD, but if so, I can live with it. I just like my routines to be somewhat similar.

Pizza. To quote a song I heard on the radio the other day: “Gimme more”. I’m addicted to the cheesy goodness.

I haven’t had this much experience with tagging, but I got the feeling that you’re supposed to pass it on, much like an STD. So, here Ole, scratch away.


Lo and behold – Lotta has returned safe, albeit not completely soundly from his escapades to more civilized parts of the place we call Norway. It would appear that your behavior in my short absence has been spotless, which, you know, makes me all warm and fuzzy. Come to think of it, I’ve been feeling quite extraordinarily warm and fuzzy all day long. Yesterdays school trip to Trondheim was in my opinion a booming success and I had lots of fun in many more ways than I’ll mention in this little blog post of mine.

It all started early in the morning, like accounts of school trips often does. The left for Trondheim at half past ten, which of course meant that the school filled the two first lessons of the day with the dimwitted youth-program called “MOT” (translated meaning: “COURAGE” or “VALOR” or “Don’t do Drugs, Don’t let Yourself Get Pushed Around and for God’s Sake: Don’t Push Anyone Else Around As Well!”). I’ve been subject to the terror of “MOT” for five continuous years now and while I appreciate the values they’re installing in Norwegian Youth, I feel like there comes a time when being battered over the head with the same message gets a little old. You’d think that they’d realize that it’d either sunk in by now and if it hadn’t we we’re probably just too fucked up get rehabilitated by a stranger with a false smile. Anyways, I put up with it cause I like their premise, even if the execution of teachings are, as mentioned, not very effective.

This time around they gave us a piece of wood (upon which point I started giggling with my friends as we reenacted the infamous Monty Python sketch) that the instructor called “Our Dice of Values”. He showed us his Dice, upon which he had written what meant the most to him, and then he dropped it in a glass jar. Then he filled the jar with small rocks, sand and lastly, some water. When the jar was full, he gave us a meaningful stare as he explained the mind-blowing life lesson that the jar represented.In addition we did a stupid role playing game that was supposed to tell you something about yourself, but which really didn’t tell you much at all beyond whether or not you had a will to live.

The next part of the journey towards “Researcher’s Night” at NTNU was a four hour bus trip. We were to attend a special lecture from a Swedish bio-physicist named Anders Jonnsson and he also gave us a small tour of the science department of the campus. I can’t really say that I learned a lot from the man (his voice was so soothing that I had the most trouble with not falling asleep, not understanding why the hell we were sitting there and hearing what happens to seeds in space).

This story contains – as all good stories do – a feast of pizzas. I feasted twice on said dish, so I guess it might just be great story, all though some would argue that they might just cancel each other out. Next up was a two hour shopping spree in which I hit the only two speculative fiction stores that are close enough that you don’t have to take a plane to get there. The nicest find was a first edition hardcover of “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman – a book that I’ve been wanting to buy ever since I turned in my library copy. I also managed to pick up two more Priest books, three by Banks and an old Russian classic by the name of “The Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov.

The “Researcher’s Night” itself started at half past seven in the evening. The first lecture I had chosen kicked off at eight, so I had some fifteen minutes to troll the various stands that were set up on the premise. Word of mouth had it that I had to get my ass outside the auditorium on good time just to get a seat – and happily fifteen minutes early gave me ample opportunity to get as close to action as possible. I was quite excited about the event, ’cause I’m intrigued by chemistry and, you know, things that go “BANG!”. The name of the lecture was “Exploding and Destroying – Will the Professor Survive?”, and it contained an hours worth of dangerous gases and unstable matter. At one point the Professor set off a powder by simply touching it with a feather. He did not, however, join the Dearly Departed, but at least he gave my ears such a fierce ringing that I have a hard time discerning exactly if my mobile is going off or not. The finale was an experiment I’ve tried myself at our school, all though not in the same size: “What happens when you add Natrium to water?” Well, suffice to say that the explosion was of such a manner that we had to evacuate the room in a calm, but hurrying manner…

Next up was a lecture on computers and animation. The professor in question was quite obviously a sf geek. He kept referencing scenes from Star Trek and Star Wars and explaining how this was done and why this couldn’t happen just yet, etc etc… In the end it wasn’t very fun, but then again few things would have been compared to my previous experience.

What surprised me the most about the whole experience was the sheer number of pretty girls that took science-related subjects in my county. Judging by my own school the answer would could have been counted on two hands. However, this isn’t the case at all. The place was packed with ’em! This bodes well for the future 😛

The evening ended like it started – with several bangs. The firework group at NTNU had set up an impressive show for us. I’ve only seen such a display on the telly before. They went off at exactly midnight, so after that there wasn’t much else to do but go home. That particular ride, however, shall remain undisclosed at this blog… No, don’t ask – it’s too private 😀

Bah. I’m tired.

Gone, Daddy, Gone

Tomorrow I’ll be away on a something called “Researcher’s Night” in the fair city of Trondheim, where I’ll be gettin’ down with the smartest High Schoolers in my county. This means that I won’t be around here to watch you, so, you know, behave yourself. No messing about, you hear? And don’t drink the Kool-aid 😛

Quentin Tarantino is currently working on a re-make of this ’78 WWII classic. I watched the original to see whether or not it had any potential.

I realize now, looking back, that this was a mistake. I should never have watched it.

‘Cause now I can’t stop imagining what fun I’ll have when Tarantino makes it a true masterpiece ^^

The Departed

This is the second time I watch this film. The first was during what one could call “less than optimal” conditions. Sometimes I had no sound, sometimes only background music and for one reason or the other the subtitles claimed that every line contained dairy references. Naturally I didn’t grow particularly fond of this Oscar winning flick, but I vowed to watch it again when I got hold of a proper DVD.

So I did. And let me tell you now: wow, was I wrong or what? This is one fucking fantastic gangster movie. The acting rabges from great to superb, the plot is intricate enough and the dialogue is just fun, fun, fun. I could without trouble quote nearly half this movie. I’d rate it as nearly as good as Scorseses’ “Goodfellas”, which, you know, is a compliment.

A goddamned huge one 😉

9,5 /10

New Scalzi Book Announced

John Scalzi revealed today that he’ll be publishing a fourth book in the “Old Man’s War” universe called “Zoe’s Tale”. It will be released at the same time as the mass market paperback of “The Last Colony”, which means that it’ll be arriving around the 29th of April 2008.

Scalzi has previously stated that he wouldn’t be writing more books from this particular universe, but obviously he’s caved. I’m not all in flames for this decision, ’cause I felt like things were nicely resolved in “The Last Colony” with no lose threads hanging. I’m also curios as to whether or not there is a lot more to explore and learn, and I wonder if this is just an attempt to keep plugging away with what works and pays the bills.

But hopefully I’m dead wrong and “Zoe’s Tale” is completely roxxor. In the mean time I’m colored a skeptic, ’cause this wasn’t what I had hoped for.

Jose “The Special One” Mourinho has resigned from his job as manager of Chelsea Football Club. Now, normally I wouldn’t care to comment on the affairs of other teams and their staffing, but Mourinho is undoubtedly “special”, and so was the circumstances leading up to this event. My favourite Norwegian football club, Rosenborg Ballklubb, managed the little miracle of drawing their match 1-1 against Chelsea in the Champions League, thus inflicting what must be the most shameful result to Mourinho ever.

So, what this really means is that my little team from Norway has managed to change the face of international football for several years to come. They unbalanced a club that seemed to have stopped shelling out insane amounts of money in every transfer window and they managed to overthrow the regime of one of the worlds best football coaches. Not bad, eh?

If I was a Chelsea fan today, I would hang my head in shame. See, this is what happens when one single man sits with all the power in the club – he can fire the best coach you’ve ever had, and chances are you won’t get a better one ever again. Thankfully I’m a Gunner, so I’m of course all smiles. This means that one of our three main contenders for the PL title just got killed off.

I’d almost be downright depressed that such stupidity can take place. Iwould, but in that case I’d have to stop laughing.

A thousand years ago, an unknown threat called the Deepness was about to be devour the world. In its way stood a man, a prophesied Hero and the only man who could save the world. The priests said he would have the power to save the world. And destroy it…

Fast forward to present time: the world still exists. The great hero and savior of mankind is now a self-proclaimed divinity, rumored to be both almighty and immortal. But these are rumors; the facts are that The Lord Ruler holds a firm hand over everything in his vast empire of land. The skaa, the working class of the Final Empire, are treated like less than animals, but they’re so beaten down that no one dreams of rebellion. The land itself, which was once green and fertile, is now a barren wasteland covered in ash.

Sadly no one remembers that the world was once a nice plaice to live. No one except Kelsier – a thief and a Mistborn (sorcerer). He gathers a crew of skaa thieves to bring down the Lord Ruler and his reign of terror. The only problem is – how do you overthrow and all-seeing, virtually all-knowing, unkillable man who’s survived decapitation and worse?

The answer to that question will not be found in this review. You’ll just have the buy the book and find out yourself. What I will tell you, however, is what I thought of this epic fantasy book:

“Mistborn” is the the first installment in a planned trilogy set in the Final Empire. It’s Brandon Sanderson’s second novel to be released (the first one being the much acclaimed “Elantris”), all though he apparently have written many more that have yet to hit the stores. I’ve been hearing a lot of things about this novel from several sources over the last year, and when the second book in the trilogy, “The Well of Ascension”, was so well received as it was, I laid down an order and set out to discover what all the fuss was about.

Sanderson manages to weave an intriguing yarn of a novel that captured me early and wouldn’t let go. The story itself is good with some twists that you don’t see coming, and also some that are quite obvious. It reminded me somewhat of Scott Lynch’s infamous “The Lies of Locke Lamora” at the start, which is understandable because of the thief-angle that both authors have so successfully deployed, but aside from that these two novels don’t have much in common. “Mistborn” is far more epic in style and in events and Sanderson’s prose is far less enjoyable than what I had hoped. He’s often described as a “sparse” author, a style that is easy to read but that I often have trouble digesting. A good writers paints a picture and a context for scene, but Sanderson often skips the hard parts of prose and goes straight to the point, thus telling the reader rather than showing.

The thing that bugged me most about this novel, aside from the prose style, was the way Sanderson drove the narrative forward. Whenever he Kelsier or Vin (the second main character of the book) got into a fight or actually did something, I couldn’t put down the book. *Happily* Sanderson provided ample opportunity for me to take some breaks, ’cause he tends to have his character gather for tea-parties or similar events all the time to recap what’s been going on lately and to exchange some witty banter. The dialog in this book is top notch, so I enjoyed reading these scenes, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they served as “easy way out”‘s. In future installments I hope Sanderson exchanges all the balls and miscellaneous gatherings with scenes in which actually things happen.

Those times he manages that, “Mistborn” suddenly jumps from its mediocrity to a very nice read. Especially the ending kicked holy ass and I don’t regret reading the novel at all. It’s a good story with some major flaws, but also with some outstanding strengths. The magic system for example must be one of the most action-friendly and original way to freshen up what in most novels is a chore to understand and imagine. Sanderson infodumps what we need to know about “Allomancy” (the magic system) in his dialogs, but I quite like world-building so I didn’t find it tedious reading at all.

To sum up: “Mistborn” is a good read that I enjoyed very much. It has a good start, a slow middle part and a kick-ass ending, but it also suffers from some serious flaws to vital parts of the book. The themes of the book are refreshing and I felt that I gained a new perspective on what it means to be hero and the corruption of power. Not the best of books, that much is true, but it shows potential and I’d recommend it to you, all though not whole-heartedly. 6/10.

I’m continuing right on with the second novel in the trilogy. Hopefully it’ll be even better than “Mistborn”.

By the time you read this, chances are good that you’ve heard the sad news. Robert Jordan finally gave in to his terminal sickness at 02.45 early this morning. My thoughts now go out to his family and all the fans worldwide who will morn the passing of the author of one of the best-selling fantasy series ever written (WoT). Countless arguments could be made as to the quality of the Wheel of Time, but this is not the time nor the place.

Robert Jordan has been one of the most influential authors in my life, and I can safely say that I probably wouldn’t have been the person I am today without reading his works. I very much doubt that I would have had the same interest in the speculative genre or perhaps reading in general if little Lotta hadn’t been given “The Eye of the World” as a youngster. Thanks, RJ, for giving me so much joy over the years and for giving my mind the ability to imagine.

The Wheel of Time is one of the longest series ever written and RJ died before he could finish “A Memory of Light”, which was going to the twelfth and last instalment. Apparently he’s been recording tapes with how he planned this last behemoth to pan out (it’s rumoured to clock in at well over a thousand pages), and his wife Harriet has been given the task of completing it. This is of course not the way we wanted it to go, but I can’t say that I don’t look forward to seeing how his life work ends.

This is a sad day for me and every fantasy fan across the world. A master has died before his time. Thankfully his books will remembered forever.

Cinderella Man

“It’s no joke, pal. People die in fairy tales all the time”

– Max Baer to James Braddock, aka “Cinderella Man”.

This particular DVD has been staring back at me for a couple of months now, just waiting to be opened and enjoyed. At first I kept putting it off because it didn’t exactly look cheerful, and sometimes that’s not such a good thing when your looking to be entertained. Last night, however, I had run out of excuses, and popped it in the player.

For those of you who’re unfamiliar with this movie, I can tell you that it’s a boxing movie set during the Great Depression in America. James J. Braddock was set for stardom before the crisis hit, punching his way to the world title. But when the market crashed, so did his career and all life savings. This is the tale of how he (sometimes literally) fought his way through that rough period and became the hero of a nation. It’s a heartbreaking tale about a man who got a second chance in life and who showed everyone that things weren’t always going to be as bad as they were.

“Cinderella Man” is a great story, albeit somewhat predictable like all but the very best sport-movies tend to be. Russel Crowe does a great job as the leading man and the narrative itself was nicely done. Ron Howard sure knows how to direct a film. The weakest part about the movie was Rene Zellwegger’s performance as Crowe’s wife. I’ve never been much of a Zellwegger fan – she’s just not a great actor by any means.

All in all I liked this film quite a lot. It had a good message but didn’t bang you over the head with it. It had some good actors and the fights were always well done. It might just be the best boxing film I’ve ever seen, all though a good case could be made for the fact that there hasn’t been made that many good boxings films. Highly recommended to everyone: 8/10.