Monday, 30 March 2009

and... Action!

As I've said before, I've hardly been to the movies for ages. And I don't watch movies on the telly that often, either. Even though it does occasionally happen.

As an "intellectual" I guess I'm supposed to watch incomprehensible Antonioni movies. But when I do decide to watch a movie on the tv, I have to admit they're tend to be productions made for pure entertainment purposes. Such as action thrillers.

Now, I'm not really a great fan of this genre. Often they just seem like an orgy of spectacular effects, with no contents or substance whatsoever. Sometimes I also think the loss of life is a bit too big. That's why I didn't like a movie like Face/Off. It came across as a bit too cynical for my taste.

But of course, there are some exceptions. The other day The Bourne Identity was rolling across the screen, and I decided to kill a few hours in its company. This is what I'd call a good action thriller, with both suspense and brains, and where the drama isn't primarily based on slaughtering as many people as possible. Besides, they've got a rather cool car chase scene. (Car chases always look good in European cites, done with iconic cars like the DS. Or at a pinch, a Mini.)


Friday, 27 March 2009

Stupid Woman!

This post might seem pretty tedious for most of you. But since I've been a bit angry all day after a little incident at work, I suppose including this stuff in my blog might have a slight therapeutical effect. At any rate, it's less expensive than visiting Dr Silverstein.

At my school they've just introduced some new routines in the recess areas, making each class responsible for cleaning up the kitchenette one day each. Yesterday the cleaning-up class was my own students, and I saw with my own eyes how they diligently and conscientiously cleaned the dishes before going home.

Today, however, a colleague from another department came into our class room and gave my poor students a thorough reprimand for allegedly not having done their job. After they'd cleaned up, it appears someone had made a mess in the school kitchenette once again. But that's obviously not my students fault. (Apparently, it's the afternoon class that has screwed up...). Naturally, I stood up for my students, because I definitely don't accept this kind of unfair accusations. If I'd only had a bit more presence of mind, I'd asked that stupid woman to apologize to my students for her unfounded accusations.

We all know how dog owners always defend their pets no matter what. Even if Rex has devoured half your leg, you always have yourself to blame: You looked at him for too long. Frankly, I feel a similar protective instinct about my own students. DON'T F**K WITH MY CLASS!

PS. Everything considered, I guess it's a good sign that what's annoyed me the most at work lately, is a silly trifle like this... :-)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Comparative Analysis

The other day my job contract was prolonged, so now my future's secured - at least until summer. I'm glad to be able to keep on working at S-rud for a little longer. The place has a pleasant atmosphere, nice colleagues, pretty attractive girls in the reception, and - not least - an administration with human features.

The contrast to one of my former work places is quite conspicuous. Last weekend I went out with my present colleagues, and it turned out that the conditions at this place are widely known. It's nice to know that it's not just me being paranoid.

But although I don't miss my old workplace, I do miss some of my colleagues. Besides, I seem to recall the nights out at my old work place being slightly more fun and crazy... :-)

Friday, 20 March 2009

عيد شما مبارک

HAPPY NOWRUZ, EVERYBODY!
Today the Persians celebrate their New Year. It was one of my first and greatest favourite students, Fariba, who originally told me about the Nowruz tradition. That's one of the many advantages teaching Norwegian for foreigners: It's not only the students who learn Norwegian. The teacher learns a lot about his students' culture, too. :-)

Iran is definitely among the places I'd really like to visit. A civilization with a 9000-year long history must have lots of exciting stuff to offer! And even today The Islamic Republic of Iran is a fascinating phenomenon, being both a parliamentary democracy and a theocracy!

Quoting my good friend Barack (and Persians all around the world): Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak! Happy New Year! :-)


Sunday, 15 March 2009

Words On The Road

During the last year I've been working a bit to and fro with a Norwegian/English travel dictionary, but now now we're finally getting close to the actual publishing. The other day I signed the contract ensuring me my mind-bending 13 % royalty. (The publisher has managed to misspell my name, but hopefully the contract will still be legally binding...) I'm trying not to think so much about the fact that the publishing firm itself will cash in the remaining 87 percent...

I just received the final matter, and with a few reservations I think it looks quite good. The cover (depicting "typically British stuff" such as double-deckers, Big Ben and... A BARREL?!) is also rather fancy - although the designers have screwed up the Union Jack. It's actually a bit embarrassing not to be able to reproduce the national flag correctly, but fortunately it's not really ME making a fool of myself.

Aschehoug is a mighty fine publishing house. But they obviously don't know how to spell names and draw flags...
Torngy

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Sushi With Putin

Yesterday the media brought the news of Zimbabwe's new prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai being involved in a so-called car accident. "Luckily", only his wife got killed. A little snag there, Mr Mugabe?

Through the ages despots have always wanted to get rid of troublesome critics. Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they don't.

September 2004: The Ukrainian pro-western politician Viktor Yushchenko falls ill after a bowl of KGB soup, just barely surviving. Tough luck for the eastern neighbour!

October 2006: The Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is shot and killed. The month after the Putin critic Aleksander Litvinenko is fatally poisoned at a sushi restaurant. It seems the authorities' henchmen have become more precise by now...

By the way, in a few days it'll be 50 days since Tibet's spiritual leader had to escape from the country after an unsuccessful rebellion against the Chinese master race. Still, he's had a better fate than Tibet's No 2, Panchen Lama, who "died of a heart attack" five days after a critical remark about the Chinese occupation...

Let the murderous despots get a taste of their own medicine. And sushi.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Sicko

Dear diary.
The last week I've been a bit under the weather. Nothing serious, just a soar throat, a running nose and some fever at night. Which, by the way, can be bad enough. The other day I woke up, totally exhausted after a long journey with suitcases left behind and similar stressful experiences along the way. In slumber land, that is. Of some reason epic and boring dreams like these tend to turn up when I've got a fever.

My cold fills my head with wool, but that's not necessarily such a bad thing. You sort of get more numb and careless (in a positive way). It's a bit like being slightly intoxicated - possibly with a dash of LSD alongside. For a while I thought this pleasant indifference might arise from the painkillers I was munching the first couple of days, but the condition continued also after I cut them out.

In principle I'm actually against such pharmaceuticals. If you're ill, you're supposed to be in a bit of pain! Anything else is unnatural. Besides, I remember from my orienteering subject at school that fever is actually due to the body's fighting against the mean bacteria. And then I don't want to interfere, of course.

Until now I've still gone to work each day. I guess I've got a rather strong work ethics (I bet Max Weber could say a lot about this...). But today my school is having a skiing day, and even I realized that walking around in the snow for a whole day would hardly be very favourable for my present medical condition. So today I've actually decided to call in sick - safe in the knowledge that my capable colleagues will be able to protect my students from avalanches and hungry wolves just as well as I.

And it was nice to have a day off. Not least because I got a chance to sleep for almost 11 hours! I obviously needed that. In addition I've been a housewife during the day, washing my bedclothes, which had become a bit clammy and crumpled after various feverish dreams. Afterwards I slept for two more hours! No, Torgny is obviously not in perfect shape these days.

I guess this stuff may not be such an exciting read. But in any case, it will stay between you and me, dear diary.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Rotten Tomatoes and Running Mascara

As I've mentioned before, I haven't been to the movies for ages. But at this time a year ago I stumbled across the Oscar Awards on my tv, which inspired a little posting in my, at the time, brand new blog. Last week it was once again time for the Academy Awards, and as an attempt to create a little blog tradition, I decided to follow the show this year as well.

If there's one thing the Americans know how to do, that must be extravagant and spectacular shows. To be honest, I'm not too crazy about glitter and glam myself. And award ceremonies actually tend to be rather boring. Especially when you don't know anything about the nominees in advance.

Another thing is the fact that the Oscars have a strong focus on commercial box office hits. It's a bit like watching the music industry's pendant: Grammy. Although I do like music, I'm pretty indifferent to whether it's Beyoncé, Rihanna or Mariah who'll draw the longest straw this time.

But during last year's awards I did appreciate master of ceremonies Jon Stewart's informal style. It made the stiff gala setting loosen up a bit. This year it was Hugh Jackman's turn to tie the acts together, with some funny (in various senses of the word) performances.

The awarding and the speeches mostly followed a familiar pattern. I've never been totally sure how genuine and impulsive these emotional outbursts actually are. After all, we're talking about actors here. But some of them actually seemed quite sincere. Despite their stardom, some still seem rather easygoing and down to earth. To me, the idea of Kate Winslet dragging a heavy suitcase at Heathrow wouldn't be totally unimaginable.

Of course, it's hard to really get involved (positively or negatively) in the jury's choices when you haven't seen the movies yourself. But at least the Oscar Awards may give an indication about what movies you should see. It was also interesting to notice that the only movie I have seen this year - the French movie The Class - was in fact one of the nomiees, in the category best foreign film.

Personally, however, I look more forward to the Eurovision Song Contest. Now, that's what I call a show! Although I'm no fan of glitter and glam, at least it's hard to be indifferent to yodl-techno from Transylvania.

* * *

For a long time I thought the Atlantic Ocean worked as a filter of sorts for the most appalling Hollywood productions. I couldn't possibly imagine everything being made over there, ending up at cinemas back here?

This may be true, but an experience from the dawn of the new millennium suggests otherwise. During a stay in New York, I and my love interest at the time sought out the local movie theatre. The movie we chose to see, however, turned out to be one of the crappiest productions of all time! Lots of Matrix-like special effects, but totally without any purpose and aim. For the first and - so far - last time I left the cinema midway through the film!

Afterwards, however, I thought "Ah well, at least we'll never see that movie at Norwegian cinemas..." I couldn't be more wrong. Half a year later it turned up also here at home... But at least it never got an Academy Award.

Happy days at Manhattan. Needless to say, the photo was shot BEFORE the crappiest movie experience ever...