Friday, 29 February 2008

A Day at the Museum

Today my class and I made an excursion to Oslo's Botanical Gardens and The Museum of Natural History. I think they enjoyed getting out of the classroom and socialize in a different environment. They're a nice and fun bunch of people, and we had a great excursion, visiting a tropical greenhouse (several of the students probably felt quite at home here), studying stuffed animals both from Norway and from the rest of the world (a great way to broaden one's vocabulary), and finally enjoying an excellent meal at one of Oslo's kebab joints. What a swell outing it was!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

My First Oscar

Hm, maybe one should become a cineast? I do like movies, although I go to the cinema only about 2.5 times a year. On the other hand, these experiences have been both great and strong. Anyway, tonight I ended up watching our national television's edited version of the Academy Awards. I must admit I've never been a great fan of glamorous outfits and spectacular performances. But I do see the entertainment value. And you get an idea of what movies you ought to see (or ought to have seen).

Besides, the night brought forward at least one more acknowledgement: Generally I don't consider myself a guy who prefer Nonita to Lolita (please bear over with my obscure Umberto Eco allusions). And, granted, I would be mad if I claimed that a lightly dressed and well proportioned Jessica Alba is not a sight for sore eyes. Still, tonight's show confirmed the fact that women like Helen Mirren still beat the pants off 26-year-old light-weighters.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Searching for the Perfect Poster

After having had the same pictures on my wall for about a decade (mostly old 4AD posters from the early 90s), I recently decided to change my collection. A visit to Ikea resulted in various wall decorations in a good, social democratic spirit, but I was also looking for a picture with a slightly more distinctive mark. Consequently I started trawling the poster departments in a bunch of Oslo's record stores. The motifs, however, mostly consisted of fast cars, naked ladies and Gothic kitsch. I'm far from a connoisseur, and I don't really have any great art favourites, but I still looked for something slightly more "artistic". But what? Van Gogh, the Impressionists etc. all have "pretty pictures which everyone likes", but personally I don't get any momentous experiences from them.

Then I finally came across a picture I really fancied. As I said, I don't know much about art, but I've discovered an inexplicable fascination in the so-called Pre-Raphaelites. Although I don't have that much theoretical knowledge about them, of some reason I sometimes recognize them intuitively. I didn't know the name of the artist - Edward Robert Hughes - but there was something about his slightly mysterious and romantic, almost sentimental, style that immediately struck me as being "Pre-Raphaelite". Thus, I got rather smug when I checked and discovered that my feeling was in fact confirmed! So, now my home is adorned with a dashing reproduction of "Midsummer Eve".
A match made in Heaven: Pre-Raphaelite art and Cocteau Twins' music

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Life's Like A Bottle of Ketchup

Now, isn't that just typical? For weeks I've been wishing for a slightly more sociable life. And then it all goes off with a bang with a bunch of social gatherings over just a few days! As Forrest Gump never said: Life's like a bottle of ketchup!

It all started on Thursday, with a nice afternoon rendez-vous with a colleague on maternity leave. Later on the same evening I enjoyed a good, old Belfry pub quiz with two ex-Berlitzers (one of whom is presently on an exclusive Norway tour). And then on Friday there was a birthday party with my Brazilian friend Marcia and all her pals. Being surrounded by so many gorgeous girls it felt like entering Latina Heaven.

On Saturday I was invited to a go-cart-ride by my weekend students Maxim and Natalya. A new and - hm - interesting experience. And the whole extravaganza was rounded off in the evening with yet another nice ex-Berlitz get-together. Three great and eventful days, in other words. But as I said, wouldn't it be nice if these events were scattered over a slightly longer period? Like a few months or so.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The Disney Parade

The other day I came across a 3CD box with musical treats from various Disney movies. After some hours' deliberations with myself I spontaneously acquired the masterpiece. After all, Disney's movies and comics were among the most important cultural sources of inspiration in my first 10-12 years of life. And when I looked for an outlet for my own creativity, the result was for the most part comics and cartoons inspired by Walter Elias.

Apart from a couple of guest performances by a particularly annoying Tigger (he can't help it, poor chap) the CD collection consists of classical movie tunes, from Snow White to The Lion King. You might say a lot about Disney (and many do). I guess things might get a bit too sentimental at times, but at the same time the movies often have lots of great humour and escapism.

Consequently, I've decided to get hold of as many of the classical Disney movies as possible, at least the earlier ones, from the golden age in the 30s and 40s. (The fact that the Snow White movie is actually 70 years old, is quite remarkable!) It turns out that the local library has quite a few, and I've already got hold of Pinocchio, Peter Pan and The Sword In The Stone. Excellent escapism on bleak February nights!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A Night At Mistral

On Friday Feb 1 we, the members of Smedstua's Team Hanne went out for a bitter-sweet marking of the sad fact that our good colleague Veronica had decided to move on to other pastures. We had a distinguished farewell party at Restaurant Mistral in the Majorstua district. Personally, I had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious roast lamb with gratinated potatoes. My conclusion is: Nothing beats the French cuisine! Afterwards we went out, into a terrific blizzard with the hugest snowflakes I've ever seen! But that's another story.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Birthday At Bjølsen

I guess a little update on what has happened so far in 2008 might be in order. Well, on Jan 19 I had my official 40th Anniversary at my little bedsit (true, three days and three hours after my actual birth date - but Saturdays are generally considered somewhat sexier than the average Wednesday, so there you go...).

Unfortunately, some of the chosen ones were not able to attend. Most of them, however, had a good excuse: A brother with a pregnant wife overdue, a rock bird with concert obligations etc... All the same it all turned out to be an unforgettable party with ex-colleagues/Berlitzers, Russian weekend students, as well as my childhood chum and collaborator in movie company, cartoon production and detective agency since the mid-70s.

The three course menu consisted of a prawn cocktail, tandoori chicken and cheese cake. It turned out quite a successful evening, if I may say so myself. And the guests brought with them great and imaginative gifts: Flowers, books and exquisite drinks (plus a Shakira cd that more than anything else suggested their morbid sense of humour). Thanks, you guys!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

A Year Of Opportunities!

The Year of Our Lord 2008 may in many ways appear like a watershed for sincerely yours. We're only a month or so into the year, and already quite a few remarkable things have happened: Jan 16 I turned 40 - and only four days later I became an uncle for the first time! (Welcome, Bo Erik Huckleberry!) These occasions have inspired me to get down to doing something I've been considering for a long time: Establishing my own blog. So here are the first, fumbling attempts...