Friday, 30 April 2010

Buzzing Like A Bumblebee

Spring is finally here. The air's getting milder, and the white wagtail has returned. Today I even saw this year's first bumblebee. It was huge.

I like bumblebees. There's something good-natured about them, buzzing genially from flower to flower. But make sure you don't step on them. I've done that a bit too often. The sting of a bumblebee is no fun. It hurts like hell.

All the same, I do like these shaggy insects. You can't blame them for protecting themselves when people don't watch their step, can you? In a way, I sort of identify with these fiery yellow flyers. I too tend to buzz good-naturedly about (although not necessarily "from flower to flower"...). But just like the bumblebees, I won't let myself be trampled on!

On reflection, I guess this blog is also marked by the geniality of the bumblebee. The topics are usually quite trivial: Clever students, pretty girls, good music... But at the same time some of the postings concern topics of a more dismal kind: Racists, criminals and tyrannic bosses... And then the tone may not be quite as genial any more.

Writing is fun, but being read is even funnier. Sometimes I'd wish this blog had slightly more readers. You sometimes hear (with a hint of envy) about bloggers with thousands of followers. But these are usually "pink blogs" about make-up, parties and reality shows. Deliver me from this kind of readers! On the other hand: You, dear reader, are obviously quality-conscious! ;-)

Lately, however, I've gradually realized that Torgnyworld is actually being read. In some of my postings I've articulated various not very flattering characterizations of a certain former boss. This is why I get a bit nervous when some of my present superiors suggest a slight knowledge of my blog. Is it possible that they (maybe from a loyal solidarity with a colleague) might dislike this kind of harangues from their employees?

Owing to my previous traumas, it's easy to forget, however, that I now have leaders with both a head and a heart. When they on a few occasions have mentioned the contents of my blog, it has felt neither unpleasant nor inappropriate. More considerate, really. (I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The difference between my present and my previous workplace is like heaven and hell. Literally.)

True, at the same time another worry emerges: What if the witch herself got the wind of this blog? Not a dream situation for a guy who wants to please as many as possible. But on the other hand: If someone actually were to make me the object of their hatred, there's no one I would care less about than this termagant!

But in general, I'll keep on buzzing genially like a bumblebee. In this blog - and in the Oslo spring.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Personal Voyage

During a recent visit to my local record store I came across a dvd box with a familiar title. Some of you may remember the tv series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage", broadcast in the early 80s? Here Carl Sagan presented important aspects of astronomy and science.

Now the series has obviously been made available on dvd, and I quickly decided to get myself a copy. Even 30 years later, it turned out still to be up to standard. By means of illustrative models, fascinating dramatizations and a pretty Vangelis heavy soundtrack, "Cosmos" gives the viewer an interesting insight into science and natural philosophy through the ages (not least do the Plato and the Pythagoreans get a regular scolding).

It might very well be that my interest in popular science arose from watching this series. Now I've got myself a turtleneck sweater and acurduroy jacket, looking exactly like uncle Carl circa 1979.

Gordon Brown Going Down


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Sugababes v 4.0

Some may still remember 2 Unlimited, the Dutch dance duo topping the European charts in the early 90s. Personally, I wouldn't be seen dead dancing to their tunes (dead can dance), but I did listen to them. Besides, I think the chick was pretty hot...

Well, after some years the duo split. But greedy producers die hard. Instead they hired two new songstresses, still sticking to the 2 Unlimited label. Personally, I found this a bit too silly, and it appears their fans did too. As far as I remember, the "new" 2 Unlimited went down the drain almost instantly.

Anyway, watching the Sugababes' latest video I'm reminded of this dynamic duo. When the 'Babes got started at the end of the 90s, they consisted of a redhead, a black girl and a chick with Asian features. The redhead was soon substituted by a blonde, and it's this line-up that I associate with the Sugas: Heidi, Keisha and Mutya. They had some pretty decent songs as well.

A couple of years ago, however, Mutya quit and was replaced by yet another new girl. And watching their newest video, I now realize that Keisha too has left the group. Consequently, today's Sugababes have none of its original members left! In other words, they've "gone 2 Unlimited". Albeit a bit more gradually...

To be honest, I personally think the Sugababes line-up has become more and more attractive through the years. But beauty isn't everything. Besides, due to my general conservatism I prefer the Sugababes the way they once were. Just like I once insisted that 2 Unlimited should be Anita and that other dude, and no one else.

PS. Why didn't The Beatles think of that? They could still be alive and kicking! Four long-haired guys from Liverpool: Jim, Pete, Geoff og Ronny.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

As far as I know, high schools still have their final examinations once a year, whereas universities arrange exams every term. When students in Norwegian for foreigners are concerned, however, they can on top of everything sign up for the national "Norwegian tests" three times a year. Resulting in a stressful hype every time. Poor students.

And poor teachers. In many ways we're in a squeeze. Between students nagging about registering for Norwegian tests they're still not ready for. And bosses who constantly hammer in the importance of not presenting students for any exam unless we're 99% convinced they'll pass. (That would look bad on the school's statistics, of course...) Stuff like that gives a poor teacher sleepless nights every time the deadline for the exam presentation is approaching. Which we've already established is three times a year.

In addition to that, we also had a union meeting the other day. These meetings are always filled with various frustrations. Sure, it's important to claim one's own, and we're fortunate to have representatives who courageously sponsor our cause. But I think I soon may have to skip these meetings. Union issues obviously get too conflict-oriented for my delicate nerves...

Besides: Everything's relative. Earlier worklife experiences have shown me that we could have been much worse off. When you've been to the central circles of Inferno and almost been swallowed by Belsebub skin and all for several years, you're not very bothered by a bit of poking from some small demons once in a while.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter is not really my favourite holiday. Historically, it has too many connotations to untimely death and suppers with an awkward atmosphere. I'm not too keen on long ski treks to ice-cold cabins, either. But I do like chocolate eggs.

One advantage about Easter is getting a chance to relax. I started the holiday with a Friday pint accompanied by a nice selection of good colleagues. And the day after I was invited to dinner by a charmning Latina who'd once been a Berlitz student, then become a friend of mine, and now - five years later - once again has become a student at my present workplace. Well, we did had a good time at any rate.

"Tony, you hava to kissa the girls. It's a lotta fun!"

On Monday I got a visit from my ex-colleague Marit. I served some lovely pitas, and we spent the evening watching old police series and discussing linguistic subtleties. It was all so nice we decided to repeat the success the next day as well. Then, however, she brought some noodles from the local Asian take-away shop. Don't quite know how to interpret that...

The last two decades my brother has lived in exile on the west coast. But now he's finally come to his senses and moved back to the eastern part of the country, naturally making it much easier to see him. On Good Friday I went down to our native county to visit my brother and his family in their new home. We went for a long walk in the city's swamps, and prepared/consumed the brothers' classical pizza. I soon discovered parents of little kids tend to get sleepy already around 8 o'clock, so I had a rather early night. But it was still a very nice Easter meeting with my brother, my sister-in-law and not least my little nephew Bo.

At any rate, I wish you all a really HAPPY EASTER!

Reading hour with Bobster and Uncle T.

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