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!
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!
This is the kitchen window, having been almost taken out completely..
It’s been a while since I did this, so here are the last five flicks I saw.
World War Z (2013)
This. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Not a zombie movie. But THIS zombie movie. The albeit cheesy title made me think that this was just another fundraiser for some Jewish wedding in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s not a good zombie movie, it’s a great movie. It has story and depth, and comes across as the exception to the rule of zombie movies necessarily having to be superficial.
Without going into much detail, I found that WWZ had intriguing plot twists that I couldn’t predict, which is getting harder and harder to come by in the average film industry. It had a solid variation of pace, which really made the experience enjoyable. You got your cheap thrills, awe, teh funny and edge-of-the-seat shit scary. The pacing of this film really drew me into it. I laughed out loud (along with a couple of other nerds) when there was a recognizable Left 4 Dead moment towards the end, and it was also nice to see Gollum back in the game:
What’s up with all the skinny chicks in Hollywood at the moment? Have a burger, already!
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
We caught this movie in 3D, because every time you see a movie poster these days you’re confronted with serious doubt; “if I see the 2D version, how much am I missing out on?”
In this film, not that much. There’s one scene the first five minutes that is worthwhile in 3D, where an arrow literally hits you in the face. Apart from that, you’re just struggling to find out where the camera man wants you to focus at any given moment. I sincerely feel this is taking something away from the art of cinema, when you cannot even “look around” to get a feel of the atmosphere from the surroundings. Instead you’re continuously looking for the focus spot in all shots, making it more of a chore and less entertainment. There’s the hospital scene where the camera is composing a classic foreground, focus, background shot that does not work at all in the 3D version, because the blurry blob in the foreground is visually pushed into your face. Of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Just don’t be a fucking moron, is all I’m saying. 3D is a fad.
Apart from that I never really got the same sense of Star Trek-ness that I did with the first chapter of this reboot, which is a whole lot better. This film can be a Star Trek movie, and it does have an intriguing story, but I felt it was more like a sci-fi/action movie in general than a Star Trek movie in particular. Walking out of the theatre I was sort of dazed, and felt I was missing the story. Perhaps the 3D just made me exhausted. It’s worth watching if you’re into Star Trek or J.J. Abrams! Other than that, you can do better.
Man of Steel (2013)
When we first saw the trailer for this film in, I believe, the screening of the above Star Trek flick, we immediately decided to get tickets for it. Lady C is a fan of the Smallville and the two penultimate films, while I’m more nostalgic and think the modern renditions are pretty lame. I somehow feel that Superman belongs in the nuclear age, circa 1950-60, when Americans were proud Americans and rightly so in the eyes of the (western) world. Putting that Superman into our world is just cheesy and sort of childish. While the Smallville franchise is more like watching Friends. Might as well just watch Friends, then.
But the trailer to Man of Steel promised more. It promised to take away the gloss of the 1950 super hero and get real dark about it, similar to the promise (and execution) of HBO’s Mad Men. Great, I love that shit. Put it on!
And this film delivered. I walked out of the theatre feeling that I could believe in Superman again. That there is hope (they won’t fuck this up). I have two nitpicky points to make though. The death scene of his father is totally wrong. Nobody bought it. In fact, taking that shit out of the movie and not mentioning anything more about his death would make it a lot better. “But Americans are fat and dumb” you say, “and need everything explained IN CAPITAL LETTERS.” I don’t know.
The second and more pressing point is this: When you are rebooting this series, with a Superman/Batman movie on the horizon, why on God’s green earth would you still include the love story? WHICH DOES NOT WORK with the above realism at all. We have just watched how Superman isn’t just from another planet, he is an alien, and the Lane/Superman coupling is taking the term interracial to a whole new level. She might as well just marry an orangutan, which is much much closer to her own species than her extraterrestrial Superbuns. Also, wouldn’t the movie be cooler if they just had a professional relationship?
But Lois Lane is from the 1950s, and comes across as an easy lay.
What’s up with the CGI cape, people? I mean, come on! And finally, Lady C adds; What is the meaning of making a huge point that 1 little soldier is saved from the bad guys, when some 150 million people died in the making of this movie? While they are all fair points, I find that it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value and interesting reboot of this great genre of films. And I can’t wait to see more! (Note: We saw the 2D version and was pleased that it offered a sane viewing experience. Get off my lawn!)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
As you can imagine, this is another one of Lady C‘s recommendations. Coming from the sick mind of Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow (2009), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Good thing I didn’t expect too much, then.
Because it is exactly like Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and every other placid, shitty rape of genuinely good stories. This movie tries to be a supernatural Firefly, and fails completely, because it its production screams “make us money” and lacks any charm whatsoever. If you’re into this shit, you will learn the error of your ways once you grow a little older. Say, after you’ve finished Junior High.
Enemy of the State (1998)
I don’t think I have written about this movie ever, even though it is a long time favourite of mine. I have it on VHS, DVD and Bluray, and last night we happened to watch it on television. This movie is better than most people think. It doesn’t try to make technology godlike, as in the intellectual abortion of J.J. Abrams in Person of Interest, while not dumbing it down to Schwarzenegger-level either (the keyboard has a backdoor so you can wipe the hard drive and implode the city). It simply shows some existing technology and focuses on its implications, not its fancy tricks. Story-telling, people. What happened to it?
It doesn’t require that much great acting (though Will Smith and Gene Hackman are cool) since it is a thriller, but it is a great thriller from beginning to end, and I’ll watch it again when I have the time. I’ve probably seen it more than 30 times already.
What’s more, you won’t find a big American title like this after 9/11. Since USA and most European govts went all 1984 with public opinion’s reluctant approval, an intelligent film about the matter won’t reappear until the political winds have changed and people start thinking again. Give it a decade. I find this circumstance makes this movie even more entertaining, it is a really good production on an intelligent subject, with a captivating story. Well done!
(It’s quite obvious now that I wrote this post BEFORE Snowden and the NSA revelations. It just got even more current, which is exactly what this film deserves. It’s a nice Saturday night film if you’re staying in.)
Since I was away at the time he died, I just wanted to add R.I.P. James Gandolfini. The Tony Soprano character really re-created the mobster genre in the long wake after the Godfather trilogy, and was and still is a great inspiration to me. The thought of Antony Sopranos not being a part of my life is not something I can really imagine. Thank you, Jimmy!
Well, that was interesting! We spent 2 weeks in the North alone with the dog and the VW Golf this summer. Having spent the first few days cutting grass, I got really ill. Then it slowly cleared up, and the second week Lady C got ill. After the two weeks we had to return to Oslo to get back to work.
But I must say it was a relaxing vacation, for once. No hassle, we could go wherever we wanted to, we heard a lot of podcasts and had a few beers. Just what the doctor ordered. Except for the viral infection, of course.
I’m just writing this to announce that we’re both very much alive. It’s just been real hell working two weeks proper, then starting studies and volunteer work, two new clients on the side, and of course all the regular odd jobs that has to be done around here.
I was supposed to create a new theme for the website this summer, but instead I carried on one of my pet projects coded in BASH. Didn’t have the creative drive to visualize and experiment, so I ended up solving programmatic puzzles instead.
Bollicks to this, we’re off to the North of Norway!
The Internet will have to wait while we pack our stuff and climb into Lady C’s VW Golf 1.6 TDI feat. Highline sports seats and the Game of Thrones audio books blaring from the ghettoblastahs… sort of like a perverse, sadistic KITT.. while we head North. Damn this bloody good weather, we want to see clouds, give us some rain goddammit! Nothing makes you feel so alive as weather depression and cold front frustrations in close quarters with your loved ones. Which is why we brought a tent. To get even closer to each other.
Two days ago we visited Lady C’s grandmother in the nursing home, and when we told her about the trip, she related her story of the summer she and her husband and Lady C’s father spent 7 weeks in the tent while it poured non-stop outside.. Her eyes glazed over and you can see that a piece of her soul was still there, trapped in the rain in the tent there. 7 weeks. She just kept repeating "It just wouldn’t stop raining", after which we just had to leave in order to let her rest.
Since we’re driving our own Lady C’s car this year, we don’t have to cover that much ground each day, instead we’ll enjoy the Norwegian summer tradition of eeking around the countryside 20 Kph below the limit trailing German caravans. German tourists all like: «They zee us rollink, they hatink, ja?»
But it’s all good. I spent yesterday finding some thirty tracks for driving music, in addition to Game of Thrones audio, and when we finally get there we’ll have the HBO adaptations, 3 seasons of Arrested Development and lots more. I plan to get a little writing done, and then I have a lot of stuff that needs to be done with the website, first and foremost the themes; so I’ll be reading up on responsive design, HTML5 and brushing off my 1337 CSS skillZ. If that wasn’t enough there’s the novel still waiting to be finished, and Lady C is really enthusiastic about seeing as much of the North as humanly possible.
Since I am using WordPress I might find it tempting to find an Android app and do some posts while on the road. We will see. We have few plans for the tour, just a stop in Lillehammer and Lady C wants to see the Cathedral of Trondheim. Not that I think anyone is bothering with my blog atm, unless you’re trapped in the rain somewhere… 7 weeks! Anyway, I will have online access when we get to our base camp in the North, so if you get 500 Internal Error or 404 File Not Founds, it is probably me turning the wrong knobs. Cheers!