Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Internet, say 'Hello World' to Elvis von Rosenhoff!

For the three persons following my photostream on Flickr (hi mom!), it will come as no surprise that we have been "blessed" (read: blessed) by the gracious though somewhat sudden appearance of a puppy named Elvis von Rosenhoff. Elvis was born 20th of December 2011, and came to live with us in our Rosenhoff apartment one cold 10th of February, after an hour long drive from his comfortable estates in Eidsvoll. *cough* Or at least its close vicinity *cough*.

That an Android phone?
Elvis von Rosenhoff, Day 1:
I’ve ate, pooped and pissed. What Would Jesus Do Now?

Over the past couple of years both me and Lady C have been clearly over-worked, so eventually we thought; «What the heck, let’s throw a dog into the mix!» I grew up with dogs, but being that I was growing up, I didn’t really understand much of all the work my parents laid into bringing them up. I can tell you, I was taken by complete surprise as to how much the little puppy relied on us, on Lady C and on me, for every inch of security that it has built over time. Every day equals new adventures, and I think "dog parents" are not really recognized for the time and effort it takes. Except by the completely honest love and adoration of the King himself, of course!

My mother asked what the hell I was thinking, and all I could say was; «I’m a dog person. A person with a dog. Only without a dog. Until just now.» Nuff said.

Elvis is a well-born Boston Terrier of Norwegian and Italian descent, and we named him Elvis because he was the straight forward, easy going and quite the charmer of the pen. This was mistake number one. When you select a dog you want the middle ground, viz. the dog that is not rushing to meet you (Elvis) but not the one that is thin and nervous (Dead Meat), but the one in the middle. Despite his honorable heritage, large estates and titles to his name, Elvis is quite the rebel, who early broke off with his upper-class family and started the infamous punk-rock band called Rage Against Aberdeen that never made the studio. It didn’t go very well from there, mostly due to the problems associated with split personality disorders.. Elvis is Dr. Jekyll on Happy Pills and Mr. Hyde on acid, as illustrated by the following couple of photographs:

Angelina much?
Cuteness trumps $300 shoes

Nom nom nom nom
OH MY GOD I’M FULL OF STARS!

The constant intake of triple espressos doesn’t help…

ANOTHER DOUBLE EXPRESSO TO GO! AND FASTER!
ANOTHER TRIPLE EXPRESSO TO GO! FASTER!

Timing is also everything, and at the time (really bad pun intended), it couldn’t have been any worse. It was February. In Norway. Freezing cold with chilling winds that howl through the soulless streets of Oslo. Puppies barely have skin let alone actual fur, so Elvis picked up the tunes from his punk-rock days and yelped and moaned and made sounds that reminds me of ET getting hurt. You know, from the movie called ET. TWICE I have been accused of animal abuse because some schmuck on the sidewalk thought the sounds coming from the little puppy couldn’t possibly come from a healthy puppy. He sounds fucking hurting!
«God dammit, leave him alone, he’s a punk-rock singer ffs!»
Nobody understands. Life is pain. So is shitting in minus ten degrees with a bare bum half an inch above the icy snow. Elvis is all like: The grass may be greener on the other side BUT I WOULDN’T EFFIN’ KNOW BECAUSE I’M CHIN-HIGH IN SNOW HERE! No big surprise he loves our English style fireplace:


Classic
Elvis’ favourite geo-location..

Can.. almost... make.. it... to.. table... uhhhhhh
Yeah, just leave me here, terrible humans. Can’t be bothered, can you? Ehh…

Boston Terriers don’t bark. What the brochure doesn’t tell you is that they emit all other possible (and impossible) sounds that will freak you the hell out. Even when he’s sleeping, Elvis will be mumbling like a gremlin, only to suddenly appear behind you when you’re brushing your teeth, like the girl from The Ring, just staring at you. Because that’s what he does.

We have umpteen dog books, of which I’ve read .20%. But Lady C has read them all, and continues to re-run old episodes of The Dog Whisperer in the background when I’m home. He keeps talking about calm and assertive energy but it might as well be that dogs instinctively know not to fuck with chubby Mexicans. I wouldn’t either. Those dogs aren’t just smart, they’re street smart. Now every time I try calm and assertive energy, Elvis is all like: Me no hablo Ingles..

Elvis Jung-Il is not amused
Elvis Jung-Il is not amused

Life becomes a mess when you have a dog. Your brain will smooth over the hard parts, like parents forget the post-natal hardships, or the 75th time you wipe up some hitherto unknown bodily fluid from the floor, so I have made sure to detail the event with photographs and Android video flicks to prove it.

1 Dog 1 Cup
1 dog 1 cup

It has almost been two months now, Elvis is twice as big as in February, and the weather has changed for the better. He’s learning FAST. Boston Terriers are intelligent dogs. Which is sort of the point. I want a dog to the effect that I can walk into class at University and say: «Look, teacher. The dog did my homework. Better than me.»

Elvis in the Sun III: Portrait
Elvis was happy to discover the sun
It currently constitutes his favourite pastime

Anyway. It’s been a long day, Elvis is snoring in the background, Lady C is cursing at the tellie, and I feel ready for the sack. I’ll keep you posted on current events as soon as they’re a couple of months old! I kid, I kid.

White Stripes
Warhol Much?

Oh, and there are more photos here: Photos tagged Elvis

(P.S. We really spent about a year going back and forth, reading lots of books and talking with vets and so, before we decided upon race and found a serious breeder. You must not buy a dog on a whim. You wouldn’t get a kid on a whim. Or a massage from an old man. Or herpes. Well, perhaps herpes.)

ScaryDuck goes to print: Samuel Pepys: Lust for Glory

The weird running man also known as or known to also call himself as or hereforewith referenced to as mr or mrs has released his latest provision for those annoying trapped-on-a-desolate-island or sick-inna-hedge situations: SAMUEL PEPYS: LUST FOR GLORY

Samuel Pepys: Lust for Glory

He recently got a new webdesign, and I told him: I like your new design.
But I lied.

That has nothing to do with this book, however, which is 100% approved. Like the others. I would like a paperback of THE BIG BOOK OF CONDENSED MOVIES though.

The book can be bought from a mythical female warrior or a French prostitute, if you like.

Postcards from Istanbul – NYE Report

As I barely mentioned before New Year’s, me and Lady C headed to the historically significant 2nd Rome, a.k.a Istanbul, for New Year’s Eve 2011/2012. Here are some of our photos:

Aya Sophia by Night 1
Not an especially great photo but THE FIRST of many Aya Sophia pictures taken on our evening strolls.. Magic!

Eminönü
Just another day in Istanbul, specifically Eminönü, where we bought our travel card.

The Original Trams to Taksim Sq.
The Original Trams to Taksim Square
Funny story, these old trams only run some 500 meters. That’s it! Istanbul people have a deep-rooted hatred for walking uphills, as the cable cars prove on the steeper hills. But this? It’s barely a slope! An affront to public health!

Gate of Ishtar 2
Original Gate of Ishtar (see the reconstruction) pieces… Amazing!

Blue Mosque on New Year's Eve
Our view of the Blue Mosque on New Year’s Eve!

Güllhane Park
Strolling through Güllhane Park on January 1st 2012

Aya Sophia by Night 3
And here’s another Aya Sophia shot! Jabba’s Palace, anyone?

And another ceiling in the Topkapi Palace Museum
The Ceiling of the Baghdad Pavilion in the Royal Palace

Istanbul Silhouette
Istanbul Silhouette

Original Church column header on Aya Sophia site
As Lady C promptly put it: "Those are some big ass biblical sheep, considering the size of a palm tree…." She’s right, of course. The biblical sheep were much larger, and would feast on palm trees every other day.

Sense of scale
Inside of the Aya Sophia.. I can hardly capture the scale of it. It’s ENORMOUS!

Domes upon Domes upon Domes
Without a doubt the most impressive building I have entered in my entire life!

Jesus' Tribulations in the Desert
Mosaic in the Khora Church, scenes from Iesu life

Goose Kebab (1539)
Genuine Goose Kebab made from a 1539 recipe (visit Asitane restaurant)

Deniz Dündar Trio
Deniz Dündar Trio at the Nardis Jazz Club

Reflections from the Restaurant
Bosphorus Bridge, as seen through restaurant window

There's always one
There’s always one…

Blue Mosque lens flare
The Blue Mosque

Ceiling at the Blue Mosque 2
Blue Mosque Ceiling

Constantinople
On the last day we just hung out and did some Bosporus boating. It was really beautiful!

If you want more, you should find some 60 photos here: Istanbul New Year’s 2011/2012

I’m sorry that I haven’t blogged about this before now. I mean, it’s been only what, THREE MONTHS, since we returned! But with my hellish German studies, a new job, and everything else, there just hasn’t been any right time to do it. So today I just made time for it!

We had a great trip to Istanbul. It is, I suspect, among the more western-oriented places in Turkey, and even so it was very much an atmosphere of the East, Orientalism, Islam and the Middle Eastern conflict not very far away. It is always nice to go somewhere where your money goes a long way, and Istanbul is no exception.

Turkey is going through a transition, and even though some things cannot be said or written publicly (anything negative about Atatürk for instance, whose photo is everywhere), the newspapers at least try to deal with the current issues they face in an open and serious manner. The front pages of the English papers in Turkey were littered with cases about violence against women, the recent air raid in bordering Syria, the real number of prostitutes in the country, as well as the struggles of the free press.

There is certainly want of change in the city, but also strong repressive forces, even in a modern city like Istanbul. We experienced some backwardedness that will probably die out in a generation, but it makes me wonder how things are on the countryside.

We stayed at a nice hotel in walking distance from the old Palace, right next to the Güllhane park, but we also tried to make excursions outside the Old Town and into the modern parts of the city, as well as the more poorer areas. The contrasts are huge. Lady C says it was Boutique Maywood Hotel, got ‘em through booking.com. It was really nice hotel, just DO NOT ask them for transportation to the airport. We did it and was scammed, almost losing our flight. Take a taxi instead.

Just like in Rome, you will find archeological sites scattered everywhere in the bustling city, almost by chance. The City of Istanbul has with varying success tried to take care of these treasures. I find it a shame that the last remains of the former Imperial Palace are completely ignored by the inhabitants of the city, and used by the homeless as shelter against the cold winds from the strait, in both senses.

Being winter, it was dark around 5 p.m. So we aimed for 1 major attraction during the day and a nice restaurant or bar round in the evenings. We had some great experiences and varied meals, to say the least, in sum:

Thursday Dec 29th 2011
Arrived at 5pm, it was already dark. The ride from the airport was interesting, with a couple of stops, and no one speaking English. Slept and ate a Kebap at Sirkeci, next to a taxi driver and his interesting date. He was interested in the horizontal tango, but she needed superficial persuasion. Lady C had the Mixed Grill Platter, while I had an unsatisfactory Roller Döner, too small for a man my size.
We followed the tram lines up to Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Ate some Köfte kebap at a touristy place just before closing time.

Friday Dec 30th 2011
Went to Taksim sq. to buy me some pants. I like wide pants, but the guy in the store kept rolling his eyes. TIGHTER! must be TIGHTER!
I insisted: Big man. Big pants.
Clerk: no no no no!
Brought me a jeans that would barely slip over my arse. There be dragons.

Later that day, we ate at a lovely quasi-Italian place called Faros, on Sultanahmet. Recommended!

Saturday Dec 31st 2011
Went to the Archeological museum where they had gathered a lot of really old stuff in the same place. Neat. We saw the Babylonian gates (above), the Hammurabi Code as well as a bunch of sarcophagi and tomb stones. Kick ass!

In the afternoon we arranged with the Hotel Pierre Loti (romantic adventurer), so we could join their New Year’s Eve dinner party at the rooftop restaurant, with retired Germans and Russian mafia. That’s a story in and of itself.

Sunday Jan 1st 2012
National holiday in Turkey, so nothing is open. Had pizza for breakfast, then we strolled in the Güllhane Park, had tea beneath the Palace overlooking the strait, which was a cold and windy affair. Later we ate at Sarniç, a Byzantine cistern turned Car Repair Shop turned Restaurant. Overpriced and overrated cuisine-wise, but nice atmosphere.

Monday Jan 2nd 2012
Topkapi-Palace. Thanks to New Year’s Eve with a lot of Turkish people visiting Istanbul, we stood some 45 minutes in line outside the palace, and then queued inside the palace. We went for the Museum Pass (72hrs), and recommend doing so. Buy it at the Khora Church, so you skip the queues everywhere! Note: You will not gain entrance to the Palace Harem, however. We decided we would see it later.

Had lunch at the palace restaurant Konyali, which was alright. You get the same view at Güllhane-Park though. Was thrown out of the bathroom by Secret Service people who were protecting the Prime Minister of Turkey. I later snapped this photo in the Palace, with the Hamas Leader accompanying the PM. Here’s the Hurriet Daily News article. Locals in awe:)

Tuesday Jan 3rd 2012
Aya Sophia and the Church of Chora. The most enormous building I have ever sat my foot in, it was a truly awe-inspiring experience just to walk around the domed church.. After a kebap, we headed to the Church of Chora where you’ll see some amazing mosaic.

We ate at Asitane Restaurant, which lies next to Chora Church. You get what you pay for here, great gourmet dishes that are mostly from recipes found in the Topkapi Palace. We had Stuffed Spleen and Trotter Stew (1469-1471), and both had the Goose Kebap (1539). Exquisite!

In the evening we saw Deniz Dündar Trio at the hottest jazz club in town, called Nardis. This is where jazz meets jazz, and you could just as well be in Oslo or New York. Friendly staff and the small size of the locale meant we got to meet all the artists afterwards. Real nice and great music! I recorded some for later:)

Wednesday Jan 4th 2012
Spent all of the day haggling the price of 2 leather jackets at the Grand Bazaar. Spend at least 1 day here. Later we ate at Feyrie in Ortaköy. Posh place, steep prices (buy wines by bottles not glases!) with dishes that were good, but nothing special.

Thursday Jan 5th 2012
We rounded up the visit with the Blue Mosque (not very impressive after the Aya Sophia..), the Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome and a boat ride across the Bosporus to the Asian side. Since we caught the wrong boat back, we got quite a lot of boat rides, but it was a nice little adventure. Had THE BEST döner kebap in a small one-man joint in the over built street between the University of Beşiktaş buildings.

The Top 3 Meals:

  1. Asitane: Goose Kebap 
  2. Faros: Lamb Casserole (Lady C) or Grandmother’s Purse (Sigg3) 
  3. Beşiktaş University: Döner kebap 

The last evening we treated ourselves and headed to Faros at Sultanahmet again. They did not let us down. Then we took in the sights of Aya Sophia one last time before we headed back to the hotel. The following morning we left the city and the country, but we’ll probably be back some day, because there is much to be seen! And who can say no to the prospect of kebap every day?