Going North of the Wall for our summer vacation

Bollicks to this, we’re off to Nordland!

It’s that time of year again, when we lay down our worries, undervolt our ghetto Bitcoin miners, climb into the VW Golf and head up north. This year, no different than last year, I will be writing on my MA thesis. It should have been finished a long time ago, and while I feel that I’m closing in on the 80% mark, I’m glad I was able to extend my writing term by one semester. I will also be looking at finishing up version 2.0 of Back in a minute which is quite a few months overdue now.

The weather here in Oslo is great at the moment. Sunny, dry, warm. Where we’re headed, on the other hand, it’s 10°C, cloudy and rain. Snow still in the mountains.. *sigh* We will be bringing our Game of Thrones collection with us, to continue the annual summer GoT marathon under the blood red midnight sun.

While we both enjoy the freedom of the asphalt life, this is also a holiday that serves our budget. I’m 100% not-working and 45% not-writing, so the quite pregnant Lady C is both breadwinner and making me her bitch, even at a current 50% employment due to her condition. I’ll be sure to do as she says though, that pimp hand mighty strong, otherwise she’ll be whoring me out at service stations for diesel and sandwiches.. But we’ll be alright up north, where there’s less stuff to spend money on and plenty of fish in the sea. Like, literally. Lady C wants us to put the boat out and live off the bounty of the fjords.

Thankfully, the selling point of mobile broadband (UMTS, HSDPA and LTE) in our mountainous country has been coverage, coverage, coverage; and today I discovered that there’s been a 4G LTE mast setup not far from our home in the north. Unfortunately, we don’t have any LTE equipment, but if they put up new masts I bet they upped the amp on 3G as well. Last year, for the first time in my testing, we had stable indoor 3G. It makes life so much more agreeable when I’m writing and just have to fact-check somethisigg3.netays ago I stopped using Reddit since it was taking over so much of my time and attention, so perhaps we’ll even stay below the cap this year.

I’ll be focusing on re-structuring some of my text for the MA thesis, ironing out logically sound definitions and reasoning, but most of all I will try to relax somewhat. The last month up until a meeting I had with my supervisor was really hard, as pollen allergies and thesis-depression made my head a grey and dull, cloudy place to be in. Having regular meetings with someone who can read and understand my text is a lifesaver in that regard. I am confident of how to proceed at the moment, and I have a pretty good overview of what needs to be done and how. If I can do what I’ve set out to do this summer, it will be awesome. We’re expecting sudden parenthood in September, so anything I can finish up before the arrival is most excellent.

I hope you’ll have a great vacation too and that, wherever you are, you enjoy life, beer and summer!

Five Last Flicks we watched

The Dead (2005)The Dead (2010) poster
This infamous little film would have completely missed my attention, had it not been for a list of interesting zombie flicks I found online, that previously made me finally watch Romero’s Dawn of the Dead from 1978. This movie probably suffers from a little hindsight. Today we have AMC’s Walking Dead series which caters to all our zombie-lovin’ needs. But this flick predates the TV Show by five years! Still, it can be summarized as one man’s Walking Dead in Africa. Sounds interesting!
The movie features Rob Freeman as an American aid worker trying to get out of Africa, that has been struck by a zombie outbreak. Like the Walking Dead, these are slow-walking zombies, but there are quite enough of them to get the upper hand and kill you. Even in the African wilderness. I don’t know how this movie has not been seen by everyone, since it really is cool. It suffers a little in production, but the interesting locations and setup will soon have you forget that, as you experience the African night during a zombie apocalypse. This movie is naturalistic and realistic, and thus have some unsettling gory scenes, so ye squeamish be warned.

We’re the Millers (2013)We're the Millers (2010) poster
This comedy was recommended in one of the podcasts I listen to irregularly, and since I’m always on the lookout for a good comedy, I decided to give it a chance. Having watched some 40% of the film and LOL’ed quite a few times, I decided to stop it, and watch it from the beginning with Lady C. You know you’ve found one-to-watch when you want to share it with others. The plot here is pretty simple: drug dealer owes money to his boss and as a payment accepts getting a smidge of marijuana across the Mexican border into the US. The lead, played by Jason Sudeikis, gets the idea to disguise himself as a family father, hiring a neighbour, a homeless girl and a stripper as his family members. Hilarity ensues!
This movie is actually very funny! I was fearing it would be another Ben Stilleresque disappointment, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Elysium (2013Elysium poster
Look at the poster of this flick. It looks like Hollywood crap, doesn’t it? Matt Damon is distressed, and there’s something interesting going on behind him. Meh. At least that’s what I thought until I finally watched this movie, with very, very low expectations. It’s a Neill Blomkamp film, of District 9 fame, who also made the brilliant but infamous Europa Report (link to review). Unlike Europa Report, Elysium is a return to the subject matter of Apartheid, but with a classical sci-fi twist. This is more like the original science fiction movies where a political or ideological idea was blown up in a counterfactual world, and thus falls right into the collections of sci-fi lovers like me. Sharlto Copley makes a good villain but Matt Damon is sort of just Jason Bourne. Again. I’m giving it a 5/10 for good entertainment value.

Sound of my Voice (2011)Sound of my voice (poster)
This creepy flick is about two documentary filmmakers attempting to penetrate a cult who worships a woman with an extraordinary claim. It’s a very intimately told story of losing one’s mind, and the thrill of following the undercover filmmakers draws you into their struggle for sanity. I have long read about cults from ex-members and the truth is that cults don’t feed on the ignorant, but normal people like you and me who are overpowered mentally by behavioral manipulation, suggestive logic and beliefs and convincing coincidences. I watched this together with Lady C, and I have to warn you it’s not a good dating movie. It is, however, executed with great care to draw you in, but leaves you with questions and a creepy feeling of wanting more.

Knights of Badassdom (2013)Movie poster
This movie almost wasn’t finished and published, but they pulled it through and managed to create an honorable salute to nerds of all nations! If you’ve ever played roleplaying game or are indeed a LARP’er, you definitely should check this movie out. It’s a funny comedy that plays on the tangents of old slasher-style horror movies, but done in the milieu of medieval RPG loving nerds. The blurb: Live-action role players conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and they must deal with the consequences. Starring Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn and Summer Glau along with a great cast of nerd-loving actors, you’re in for a treat. But this flick comes with a huge caveat. While I’d want to recommend it to everyone since just for it’s awesome title, I don’t really think it’s a movie for everyone. It’s not self-important, rather very lighthearted, but it might be a bit too heavy on RPG related references for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve ever played Warhammer or D&D pen and paper, or gone LARP’ing, today or in your younger years, be sure to check it out though!

“My Summer Car” Finnish Game Trailer

I just wanted to share this extremely realistic Finnish driving simulator, My Summer Car, as narrated by its Finnish creator. This really brings me back memories from my youth, even though I never got around to buying my own car, and I wasn’t in that exhaust smelling gangs myself. But driving aimlessly around in the dark woods is something I did a lot all around the year.

See the awesome website @ johannesrojola.com/msc/

Mock trailer for THE PUNISHER

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of comics. I more or less subscribed to The Phantom and, as I got older, Spawn. But I sometimes would look into other comics, like Judge Dredd and The Punisher and I always enjoyed them.

This mock trailer for The Punisher, called Dirty Laundry, is an ode to Frank Castle. It’s directed by Phil Joanou, written by Chad St. John and produced by Adi Shankar. Enjoy!

HOWTO: Use polytonic Greek in Slackware

I’ve been using polytonic Greek in a few of my earlier essays at the University, mostly to either correctly determine which term of Aristotle’s I’m hinting at, but also in relation to modern German philosophy (both Hegel and Heidegger refer to Platon and Aristoteles for instance). I set this up on my laptop that’s running Fedora core 17, but I forgot how I did it.

Consequently, I haven’t dared to update it, from the Fear of Fedora upgrades as well as losing my ability to write polytonically (not even sure if that’s a word).

Here’s how I set it up on my Slackware 14.1 x86_64 installation that runs Xfce & i3 DE:
# Check that you have the keymap you want installed already:
$ ls /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty/

# I want to use 'no' (Norwegian) and 'gr' with the polytonic variant
# the variants are listed inside the keymap. To confirm, you can do:
$ less /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty/gr.map.gz

# The command to activate the changed layout settings that switches
# between 'no' and 'gr' with polytonic variant using Left Alt+Left Shift:
$ setxkbmap -option grp:alt_shift_toggle no,gr -variant ',polytonic' -display 0:0

# Confirm current settings:
$ setxkbmap -query

# Optional: install font (download below)
su -c 'cp newathu405.ttf /usr/share/fonts/TTF/'

You might also need a capable font, like this one, but I like Times New Roman.
That was it, really! I can now swap back and forth between the two as easily as I could on my Fedora box!

When it just hits that spot

There’s a small airline company in Norway running mostly local hikes with small passenger planes and mail. I took this photo embarking the northern postal route. Anyway, their latest commercial has a soundtrack that won’t leave you alone:

So this is Daughter and the song is called Youth. It’s "buildup" music, kinda chick-rock, and not usually what I listen to (nor does it have anything to do with the picture..). However, the way the commercial was executed was almost poetic. You can watch the Widerøe ad here! The kid’s just asking «One more time, just one more time!». Some songs just hit it exactly right. Here’s the theme song for Broen (the Bridge) which is another good example.