Author Archives: sigg3

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.

Five Last Flicks we watched

Here are the last five flicks I watched, usually accompanied by Lady C. I have tried to avoid any spoilers in this article, but feel free to harass me in the comments.

Dawn of the dead (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)I found a list of the top 30 zombie movies of all time, most of which I had already seen, when I realized I had never seen the original Dawn of the Dead by Romero. I immediately got a hold of it and convinced Lady C to see it with me. This movie still holds its own, and I must admit it is way better than the 2004 remake (with faster zombies). This flick is a mixture between serious zombie survival and humorous slasher film. Since its production in the late 70s, some of the social caricature roles in cinema have changed, so it took a while before we understood that e.g. Roger’s character was more renegade than goofy and stuff like that. But the movie had a nice pace, with many intriguing scenes and the more speculative questions we ask ourselves facing this end-of-the-world hypothesis. We really enjoyed it!

Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited AwayThis flick has been on my to-do list for quite a while, ever since an anonymous /. user shared his opinion that Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi was the most beautiful film he had ever seen. Lady C was skeptical even though I seem to recall that we both enjoyed Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989). With a running time of 125 minutes it may be a bit much when you’re not already into anime, but Spirited Away turned out to be a great, fantastical experience which can be enjoyed by anyone with an imagination. The movie contains some of the most well-known anime creatures, that are really expressions of human desires, longings and quirks. The road this movie takes is also unpredictable and keeps you guessing for what’s next, in a good way. Put this movie on your list!

Godzilla (2014)
Godzilla (2014)There hasn’t been a good monumental monster movie since the creature of Cloverfield upped the game in 2008. In this sense, Godzilla really delivers! And to be sure, it also erases our shameful memories of the embarrassing flick from 1998 that everyone wanted to like but didn’t. With these other two in mind, how does the new Godzilla fare?
First of all, this movie harkens back to the good old days of Gojira lore. Not only does it establish a convincing background story, but the characters, the plot development, the music and some of the scenes really pay tribute to the old Godzilla movies which featured (a man in a costume as) the enormous, towering creature that was worthy the title of god-like. Second, I think it ties in with Cloverfield without actually claiming to do so. This alone should make your monster boner tingle.
There are some weak points to the flick though. The humanization of Godzilla goes a bit too far. We must not forget, that to Godzilla (and also the Cloverfield creature) we can be no more than ants. This is also what the film says, but not what it does. In addition, I’m not convinced that the choice of having a non-VIP main character follow the first hand experience was a good one. The Godzilla event was global so there is no reason why the movie could not have followed the creature from the perspectives of several characters. Finally, Bryan Cranston’s predictions don’t seem justified, but the jury is still out on this one, while we wait for a director’s cut.

Europa Report (2013)
Europe ReportI suspect this movie fell in the shadow of Hollywood’s Elysium. At least I hadn’t heard of it at all before someone mentioned it on a forum post of interesting sci-fi movies. This film follows the private space mission to Europa, which is funded by a live television broadcast from the ship back to Earth. (This is actually a real possibility for the Mars One colonization project.) You have to pay attention to the film, because it follows a non-linear storytelling; but it follows it through successfully and it makes for an exciting ride and keeps you involved in the plot. This movie may give the impression of being low-budget. I could only recognize Sharlto Copley (lead character in District 9). But that only speaks volumes for its successful execution! I recommend this to anyone looking for a Sci-fi adventure. This movie has character and harkens back to some of the classic sci-fi of the 1970s and 80s, but is modern and provides an interesting piecemeal storytelling which adds to the experience. Great flick!

Spring Breakers (2012)
Spring BreakersIf you bought this movie thinking it would provide tits and college humor, you’re going to be disappointed. This was another accidental find for me, I can’t even remember why I watched it originally. Perhaps I was looking for tits and college humor. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. But compared to my non-expectations this was a breath of fresh air! This movie reminds me somewhat of the 1998 Hurlyburly feat. Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey, in terms of atmosphere and feel. It is as sexual as it is cynical, but underlying the entire movie is an existential depression which expression comes forth in the four girls’ spring break break with society. This movie has gotten a bad rep, for reasons unknown to me. If you’re into exploitation and decadent films, this is a new item for your collection. It is a ride of moral relativism and could easily be mistaken as politically incorrect; but I find it an interesting comment on society instead, though to a somewhat more implicit extent than Hurlyburly.

Bored and need some time in front of the computer?

Bored and need some time in front of the computer? Here’s a little something something for you. All the way from Adultswim, the infamous guys behind Robo Chicken, comes the entire catalog (season 1-4) of the Archeresque Sealab 2021!

Link of the day: Sealab 2021 Seasons 1-4

If you have a little time off and just want some wacky entertainment, I can really recommend this! Just beware that the autoplay does not play the episodes in chronological order (at least not for me), so I just clicked back to the page linked to when the episode was over. This is adult humor at its most childish.

Roundup of our Trip to Barcelona’s many parks, April 2014

I’ve carefully selected and uploaded 94 pictures from our Barcelona visit in April to Flickr. It was a really wonderful and much-needed vacation from the cold and grey pre-spring atmosphere of dread we were suffering from in Oslo at the time. Let me just say that Barcelona is beautiful and that it even rivals Rome as a favourite destination of ours. Here follows a recap of our days in this brilliant city, day by day..

Sunday: Got up at 3:30 a.m. or the equivalent in Oslo, to arrive in BCN at the middle of the day. By the time we got in to the city the heat was sweltering, so when we got our room at Hotel Chronos we caught up on some sleep and changed into more suitable clothes. Incidentally, this Sunday was also my birthday, so Lady C got the receptionist to cool down a bottle of champagne we’d brought with us. Then we headed out.

We walked through Gotico to Gloria, had a fantastically horrific and tasteless meal at one of the shabby places next to the cathedral, and made our woozy way down to Port Vell. Despite the terrible first meal, we were quickly charmed by the brilliant atmosphere, smiling people and impressive street performers. When we eventually moved on towards the fully erect Columbus monument in the distance, we also got to witness the spectacle of 4-5 urban police officers chasing down and eventually catching a pickpocket! Everyone applauded:)

We had some afternoon ice cream at Gracia, slept a little more, and later had dinner in a restaurant called 1932 in Gotico. This place served quite a few tourists at the time, but the service was good and the food even better!

Monday: This was our first of a few happy lazy days in this city of sun. I’d archived the brilliant BCN FAQ from the subreddit of /r/Barcelona on my phone, and everyone suggested we go see Parc del Laberint d’Horta. We bought a couple of baguettes at our local bakery and some ham, cheese and soft drinks at the hypermarket before hitting the subway. The park is beautiful, it is not a tourist trap and you get some peace and quiet in the heat. Eventually, having walked around the maze and the park itself, we found a nice spot to have lunch.

That evening we were supposed to eat at Catalana but since we were hungry the 50+ minute wait to be seated got the better of us. We ended up at Josephine somewhere in Eixample, nearer to our Hotel. I was not impressed, but suspect we were “hurried along” because we were foreigners. (We were dressed nicely though.)

Tuesday: This is the brilliant view from our Hotel room balcony:

Eixample

And I’m not being sarcastic. It was really fun to watch the local traffic flow, since it is so different than Norwegian traffic, and I observed enough of the common practices to be fairly confident I would totally suck in BCN traffic:) An important thing to notice in this picture, is that our balcony is on the side of the building, but facing a “diamond” in the intersection creating this social and light, open space. Instead of having each block make a rectangle with a narrow intersaction, as in most cities, the Art Nouveau thinking in Eixample shows how the small things can create living, breathing space which completely changes the experience of pedestrians, not to mention the social patterns, with more road-facing cafés made possible.

With the success of the Parc del Laberint fresh in our recollection, Lady C suggested we head off to another park to rekindle the tranquility of the day before, which we did. Here are some children playing on the parade walk leading up to the triumphal arch; finally arriving at the Parc de la Cituadella. There’s not much to say about it, other than it is beautiful. It had way more people innit than the one we visited the day before, innit? We found a woolly mammoth (sigg3 for scale) and stared intensely at the ducks.

We ended up outside the Zoo, and decided to check it out. Despite all the WWF information plaques the park sympathetically has put up, I found the animal enclosures too small for comfort. But it was nice to finally see the white rhino, dolphins, and a silverback gorilla up close. And this guy eating carrots:

Carrots!

Before we exited the Zoo we also got to see the lions having a quickie in front of a class of school children, which is always amusing. We took a lot of pictures and video of it, but that is reserved for our private collection… NOT!

We had the menu del dia in a small family-owned café near the Marina metro station. Later that evening, we took a cab to Palau de Musica and had dinner at Cafe de l’Academia. If I’m not mistaken, we were seated next to a couple of Americans (who can’t stop talking). We called it a night after beers at a vegetarian place on Place de Georg Orwell. Here’s some random advice. This is not as refreshing as you think it will be:

Damm's Lemon & Beer

Wednesday: The big day of Sagrada Familia — The Spaceship Cathedral. We bought tickets online the day before (always do this!) and skipped ahead of the queue stretched around the block in sweltering heat.

La Sagrada Familia

What can I say about this cathedral? The entrance is brilliantly detailed with many weird additions, but it still appears to be a church. However, upon entering the cathedral, we were struck by the feeling of having walked inside a 1990s alien space craft. The brilliance of Gaudí is unchallenged! But does this look more like being under the canopy of a forest than it does being inside the hull of a spaceship?

Pillars

I think that upon its completion, when you can have some 3000 people in the choir(s), it will actually function as a church. At the moment, though, it was more of a tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed, but I’ll take Aya Sophia in Istanbul any day over this, if I had to pick one. Which is a weird situation. Why would I have to pick one, when we have both?! Leave it, just leave it.

Having seen the cathedral, we were hungry and hungry for another park adventure! So we decided to bring along our baguettes, cheese and ham to Park Guell. That picture is a little misleading, because we never actually entered the part of the park which requires a fee. Just walking further up the hill gives you a nice vantage point to look down into it and outwards to the city. Having climbed up the hill for a while, we found a nice spot in the shade to have our picnic. The hill has a brilliant view of the city, and like so many times before the skyline of Barcelona made me think I was in some steampunk retro-future. Have a look at these giant mechas walking in the distance.. It’s incredible!

Another futuristic skyline

We stopped by the Casa Museu Gaudí and was inspired by his organic furniture, nice little villa and beautiful garden.

That evening we had tapas somewhere in Gotico followed by beer at Café Babel by the Roman Wall. We returned to these outside local places each evening, even just for a bear and to take in l’ambience.

Thursday: We gathered lunch supplies and took the metro and what’sitsname up to the castle of Montjuïc, where I caught another futurist view of this beautiful city. We took the what’sitsname with a couple of American tourist who I suspect had recently received fat-reduction and wore very big clothing. They were also annoyed that we joined them in this public transportation. But the reason I’m talking about it now, is only because I would be seeing them everywhere we went for the reminder of the day. Totally weird.

Anyway, we left the castle (tourist trap) to find our way to the beautiful Montjuïc Botanical Garden.. or Gardens, really, since the entire area was spread out over several hills and paths. We had lunch by the side of these beautiful water plants, and stayed put until I discovered a big rat with a look of lust in its eyes, peeping at us from beneath nearby the bushes. Speaking of bushes, here’s a rather futurist tree, come to think of it.

We headed to the Miro gallery, and came across these three rugrats up to something, on the way there:
Rugrats!

The gallery was AWESOME, and that’s all I’m going to say about it, because I’m getting really hungry thinking about all the delicious food we had.. Skipping ahead (you can always find more info in the photo gallery), we had coffee and ice cream at the Two Cats just below the Miro gallery, walked down to the National Museum, and stumbled upon the Van Rohe building — which should be very familiar to any fan of Grand Designs. And Lady C took this not-awesome photo of yours truly in Tourist Disguise:

Who's a Tourist?

Thank you, I’ve lost a lot of weight.. at least until we found this butcher shop. We had a HUGE dinner on Plate de Tapas (contrary to popular belief, price did reflect quantity) and a regular late night beer at Fly Can, which is also next to the Roman Wall.

Friday: Our day of departure went really quickly. We had breakfast at our local café, stopped by the butcher to buy some presents (cheese and ham), and the bakery for some sandwiches (the girls working there were so sweet), and narrowly caught our airport bus at Place de Catalunia. The 50 minute ride out of the city was filled by one American girl’s need to announce her present status quo to all the passengers at regular intervals (“yeah, totally, right?”), and when we finally found our check-in counter, some 200 people were already in line. Needless to say, we’re all for automatic, electronic check-ins!

All in all this trip was absolutely brilliant, and we both fell in love with this characteristic Mediterranean city. We are positive we’ll return one day and see some of the stuff we postponed for later visits, not to mention some of the parks we missed! Be sure to check out the photo gallery, and have a good one!

Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me…

Today I’m turning 30 years old! Three decades. 30% of a century. That is old!

This is an automated message, so don’t think I’m taking time off from our brilliant BARCELONA adventure to write this, I got modern technology up in this biatch, posting me memes, keepin’ it cool.

And in 10 years, I’ll be forty……..! So; Happy Birthday To Me! Have a beer.

Bollicks to this, we’re off to Barcelona!

Yes. We’re leaving snow-fogged rain for sunny BCN, brilliant architecture, art and Spanish cuisine!

You say Winter is coming? We say: Bring it on, let us just pack our bags first!

We dropped off the dog at C’s mum’s an hour ago, now we’re going to have a pizza, watch some TV, finish packing and get ready for our red-eyed flight tomorrow morning. Have a good one!

Absolutely No Joke this year!?

Today I usually have a planned or improvised April Fools joke on Sigg3.net, but not this year.

Friday I handed in the first 20% of my MA thesis and also accidentally discovered that we were scheduled for having our windows replaced today. They decided this was the time to do it because of some change in insulation regs next year, which could make it even more expensive.

All weekend was pretty much in preparation for the job. Yesterday I spent six-seven hours rolling out paper on the floor and putting everything in plastic.

Today, I got up at 5:30 a.m. which is around 4-5 hours earlier than usual, and the construction team entered at 7. Half an hour after that we put the dog in the car and drove him to C’s mother. Had a cup of coffee, and agreed that C would stay behind with Elvis trying to get some sleep. While I, on the other hand, was going to drive back home and keep an eye out for problems, documenting the steps and make coffee. Spending 1,5 year on a flat makes it your baby. I sometimes feel like I know more about the flat than I do about myself. So when someone from the outside world come to change it, it better be good.

I was quickly realizing that the company we’d hired weren’t amateurs looking for a quick buck and hiding behind foreclosure strategies. They were organized and well trained to do their particular parts, which rendered me being there a lot less necessary.
I went to a café in my neighborhood and bought a double latte, and brought it back to the garden. The flat looked like a bombed out ruin by now, huge holes where the windows would be. So the wind was blowing right through it, making it colder than just sitting outside. Also, my AP is so powerful I easily get Wifi in the garden.

After the coffee, I had some more photos to shoot, but then nothing to do. So I went for a walk, without the dog, looking like an unemployed construction worker aimlessly wandering around, at the park, along the roads, at the Botanical Garden of Oslo.. Lady C and Elvis joined me in the garden around noon, well rested, bringing lunch and good company, and the sun was finally starting to work as advertised. Since the nut across the hall refused to let anyone in, ours was the flat in focus today, thus they finished earlier, around 2pm. C left for work and Elvis was happy for all the attention.

Around 7 pm I finished taking out the dusty paper and plastic covers to the bins, vacuuming and cleaning all the rooms and finally putting my computer room back in order. Then I had to take the dog outside again, play with him some, play Left 4 Dead 2 some and a little no More Room in Hell, until it was now.

Now I am hungry and exhausted, stretching on the mini couch in the computer room with a snoring Boston Terrier squeezing me further to the edge. And I have no energy left for April Fools day shenanigans, hence the present message. I am not convinced that the windows needed changing, but I’m glad it’s partially completed. Now remains the finishing touches which, happily, Lady C is much better at than me. I hope you had a great day, however, and many fine jokes to chuckle at. Have a cheese burger! That is at least what I intend to do once C returns from work and order is restored in the galaxy.

Edit: Pics or it didn’t happen!
Changing the kitchen window
This is the kitchen window, having been almost taken out completely..