Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Blogger in Jail

Not for blogging, but for passing by. Mike from Satan's Laundromat was arrested Friday night and kept behind bars for 30 hours. I suspect the experience didn't make him particularly fond of the republican mayor of New York. Considering the topic of Satan's Laundromat - Urban decay - the pictures from the Republican Convention are an interesting comment.

In the nude

And while researchers discover that the percentage of women playing games is increasing, others do their best to put women characters in the games in their proper place - like in Playboy. BloodRayne will appear nude, while several others will put on "seductive poses".

Lara Croft appeared in a bikini on a chocolate bar some years ago, with an ironic remark about how much money she made them pay for her to pose like that. I wonder if there will be irony in the playboy October issue, or if this is the emergence of Gibson's Idoru, the virtual reality girlfriend.

Girlfriend update by way of Netwoman

Games, players and use

A few articles have showed up lately, with data on things confirming trends we have known about, but not had definite data on.

By way of Lisbeth Klastrup and Dennis G. Jerz: 39% of the gamers are women. The data also shows that women past 40 play more than the men at the same age. ESA, Entertainment Software Association, reports the same trends, and includes some other encouraging facts:

Ninety-two percent of parents surveyed who have children under the age of 18 say they monitor the content of the interactive games their children play, and 55 percent of parents say they play interactive games with their kids at least once a month.

ESA also reports that American gamers take the time to play games not from reading, work or activities like sports, but from watching television.

Lisbeth and Dennis also point to the Women Gamer's cooperation with Guildhall, to create a scholarship for women game developers. Good news indeed, for gamers.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Blog-only news

For a week blogger Steve Rubel was supposed to only read news from blogs. This meant: read the blogposts only. What he wanted to see was, according to the article in Poynter Online, whether he could stay updated on important news through reading blogs.

His intent: See if at this stage in the evolution of blogging, weblogs are an adequate entry point to current events -- if they could replace more traditional forms for people who want to learn what's going on in the world.

He found that certain news spread swiftly, while other spread slowly or not at all. In general the information he got was superficial, and there was little in-depth analysis.

This does not surprise me at all. The reason why I am not surprised is in his methodology. He did not follow the links! Clicking the articles the blogs linked to was NOT part of his project! What kind of blog-reading is this?

The reason why blogs work so well, why they are interesting and why following a blog can give you indepth information about current affairs or particular topics is because they work as gates and portals, not sources. They open up to others and to other discussions. This is the opposite function of mainstream media. Mainstream media want to keep the reader, listener or viewer tuned to their channel, and not clicking on anything that lets you exit and go elsewhere to learn. Blogs give you the subjective view of the writer, some commentary and an opportunity to make up your own mind about reading on or going back.

Some blogs can act as news sources and contain journalistic coverage of a topic. But don't confuse the channel and the medium! A blog is a channel for many different genres, and not a newsmedium.

Thanks Erling, for the article.

Not a good idea

Just a piece of advice to my many friends out there with diverse problems with their backs (it's a lot of us, hours in front of the monitor and keyboard is a killer for our backs): If you have a fairly long, pain-free period and start thinking you're all better, finally managed to do all the right exercizes and all the right things and now you are as strong as everybody else - don't lift a boat.

OK, so I only lifted a fourth of it, and I used to do this all the time when I was younger, and it had to be done and doing it was, even with the pain, worth not having to worry - but still, not fun.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Sosial og Digital

Conference in Bergen, arranged by among others Jill Walker and Thomas Breivik as part of establishing ELINOR, an organisation concerned with electronic literature in the Nordic countries.

I'll be there, but look at the speakers in the program, there are better reasons for going to Bergen than me on that list!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sincere apology

After I returned from my day-trip to the radio studio, I received an email which (in the nicest possible manner) let me know that I have been badly mistaken about something. I want to apologize for having given my readers (all 5 of you) the wrong impression of the radio program "Sånn er livet".

It is not targeted at the retired population of Norway. It is not made by retired journalists. It does not interview retired has-beens. It is a magazine that does serious research on interesting topics in a generous format that allows for whole sentences and fairly complex arguments.

Seriously, it's one of the really good programs on the radio, and I listen to it when I have a chance.

I am also NOT citing any research on who actually listens to NRK P2 at 10.03 Thursday mornings. That is because while NRK's research department admits such data exists, it hasn't been made public online yet. I am convinced the audience is a broad and diverse sample of the Norwegian population, and I will from this day forth insist on this until somebody forces other data on me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

It's life

Another chance for friends and foes to hear my slightly nasal, stressed Ålesund voice (yes, I hated the sound of myself the last time) on the radio. 10.03, NRK P2, Thursday 26th, Sånn er livet. It's supposed to be about blogs again.

I am driving to Ålesund and back for this. Good thing the college counts talking about my teaching and research on the radio as "FOU" - which is a Norwegian acronym for research and development - so they won't punish me for flexing time for this. But I guess a journalism education had better be available to journalists.

Anyway: about 20-30 minutes into the program I'll be there, and the retired population of Norway will learn even more about blogs.

Ph D grants in journalism

If you study journalism, Volda College offers a three year grant for a Ph. D. on new forms of production for radio, television and the internet. Eligible for applying are students with a Master's degree and who are accepted (or acceptable) at a University or College where they can get a Ph. D. The student will be expected to live in Volda and spend most of her/his working time at Volda College.

But you have to hurry up and write. The deadline is the first of september 2004.

The field of the position:
Prosjektet skal ta utgangspunkt i ein analyse av digitale produksjonsformer, med særleg vekt på nye journalistiske produksjons- og presentasjonsmåtar, og skal vere med på å utvikle ei teoretisk tilnærming til det journalistiske feltet. Kva skjer med tradisjonell journalistikk med endra individuelle, institusjonelle og, ikkje minst, teknologiske rammevilkår?

Prosjektet kan omfatte kartlegging og vurdering av konkrete arbeidsoppgåver, analysar av journalistanes roller og publikums mediebruk og til utvikling av teori og begrep knytt til digital journalistikk i eit offentlegheitsperspektiv.

And yes, all information about this is in Norwegian. That's a hint.

Update: If you think 6 days is not enough time, you can apply for a 4 year (25% teaching) grant in Oslo: Journalistrollen i en digital tidsalder, The role of the journalist in the digital age, at Oslo college. The deadline there is the seventh of September.

Tearing bells off sheep

A student at Volda College got so sick of the sound of the bells the sheep grazing next to the college was wearing, that she complained to the farmer about them. The farmer couldn't move the sheep at the time, but he taped the bells in order to make the sound less annoying. A couple of days later he found the sheep frightened and confused, unwilling to go anywhere near the college, and four of them lacking bells.

This is the kind of Volda news that makes the national papers. It is also big news here. And it reminds me - I have to call a man about a sheep. It was on the road, wrong side of the fence, when I left home this morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Maintaining the roles

Enjoying the good things in life are not always that much fun. So people who have money have found ways to cut corners. Rather than walking up to the mountain, you hire somebody to carry you. Rather than getting off the elephant and walking through the jungle searching for the tiger, you get a lot of poor people to risk their lives chasing it towards where you are posted. Instead of becoming a good soccer player, you buy your own team.

Now this article in Wired shows how this happens in games through outsourcing. No reason for surprise, really. Society doesn't change overnight just because the tasks to labour at have changed.

By way of Dennis Jerz.

Moblogs and red pens

Friday Morgenbladet had an article (in Norwegian) on moblogging from Iraq. The journalists had studied the social area yafro.com, where it is possible to make your own photo moblog.

In the article the journalists ask questions of some of the soldiers in Iraq who use this site as a place to post their pictures and to chat, for instance "stilliniraq" who today is called "backhome". The article roams all over the place in an attempt to say something about several different complicated issues: The changes in personal publishing due to new technology, the role of unrestricted and unedited information from warzones, press freedom in war, and for some odd reason; wether our western culture is one of purity or filth.

Each one of these questions would have made for exellent articles, instead it's packed together in one. My red pen itches when I read something like that.

A toast to us!

By way of Anders Fagerjord (who is back at the computer).

Communication knowledge

The Swedish word is kommunikationsvetenskap, I don't think I could use that, as vetenskap - vitenskap - means science, and the book I am working with right now is not really about communication science but about how to use communication science in order to translate the knowledge into skills. Larsåke Larsson, the writer of "Tillämpad kommunikationsvetenskap", has loaded the book with references and models, so I guess the topic is the science after all, only "tillempad" - adjusted...

What this means is that it's time for me to do what I am employed to do - teach students in public information/communication (PR is a better word, but in Norwegian PR basically means marketing and publicity, and we teach a lot more than that). I really love this topic, because it is right in the middle of the motivation for my work on popular culture, mundane communication, the "simple" forms used by the masses as opposed to the "high art" of the elite.

Public information is about telling people things that makes their lives better. Yes, it may be that art increases the quality of your life, but it doesn't really matter much if you don't know you are eligible for social welfare and assistance to get aplace to live, food and clothing. It is a very real challenge to explain to all immigrants how to reunite with your family in Norway.

These are the questions that led me into communication science once upon a time, and while it may look like games and blogs have very little in common with what my students do, the connection is there. To me this is all about how do humans communicate. How do we use different technologies, and can communication be done quicker, more precisely and better than it is today?

Once in a while I lecture on communication knowledge, what works, why do we know it works and why is it important that things work like this? It feels like touching base.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Backstage media fragments

Working in a journalism education with close connections to most of the newsrooms in Norway, occasionally you learn things you would rather not hear. Like the chances for young women to get a steady job as a journalist in Norway today. They are just about zero. Why? "The moment they get a job, they get pregnant." Newspapers and broadcasters claim it is too expensive to hire women, so they don't. This trend is not immediately noticeable, because there is an all over trend towards using freelancers and temporary employees, so the differentiated hiring policies are blurred by the seemingly very harsh and random policies.

The men I work with don't tend towards exaggerations when it comes to the situation for women in working life. They did, for instance, think it was a grand joke to point out that somebody had left soft-porn magazines in the staff room today in order to increase the number of women in the room. We are now four women working here, with 20 men. The other three women are in 50% positions, one is temporary. Nothing is being actively done to change this. So when these guys discuss hiring policies as a problem for young female journalists, it not a group of paranoid hysterical feminists whining.

It got to me. Infertility or a hysterectomi would look good on your CV, if you are a young female journalist today. Fertile females are useless.

Paper Dragon

One of the most restful things I do, is sit down with a piece of paper and fold it into different shapes. I love books of origami with intricate instructions. Like too much else of the things I like to do it has disappeared in the rush of busy-ness. Reading slashdot this morning reminded me of the wonder of creating with paper.

Ancient wyrm by Joseph Wu

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Female, young, new-norwegian and good

Those were the criteria my husband set when he started searching for an author to introduce to his high-school pupils this year. And he found her! Olaug Nilssen, a young woman - young enough that I feel I can get away with calling her a girl - who wrote the book Vi har så korte armar - "we have such short arms". But what I wanted to show particularly the Norwegian readers is that Olaug Nilssen has a blog, Eit eige rom med utsikt, "a private room with a view" on a site called skoddeheimen.no. Skodde = fog, heimen = the home, so something like "the home of fog". Only it sounds much more poetic in Norwegian. So plenty of literary references, national and international.

Reading her blog makes me want to blog in Norwegian. I really should write more in Norwegian. Actually I do. But not here.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Which literary classic are you?

Clancy did it, and I got curious. And WOW, this result really flattered me! I think it could hardly have fit better with what I'd like to hear (except the catolic part - never thought I discussed catholic issues).

The name of the rose
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a
mystery novel dealing with theology, especially
with catholic vs liberal issues. You search
wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that
learning is essential in life.

Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The taste of fresh koriander

I love blank books. I love buying them, searching for a combination of colours, materials, prints and images that feel meaningful to me. I have journals covered in chinese silk, bound in dark, embossed leather, green velvet, smooth glossy hard covers with pictures from japanese paintings or interwoven stems of honeysuckle. I have journals in bright red, hungry orange and deep purple, hard flat cardboard bound with metal rings and soft brown leather wrapped around handmade and handbound thick soft paper.

Some are cheap and cost me 10-15 krone, like the black and red chinese journals from when I aquired the habit of taking notes in journals and not on stray pieces of paper. Some are sensible green business issues, with alphabtic lists for addresses in front and an endless amount of finely ruled sheets waiting for me to fill them with important messages, budgets, expenses, reminders of details which can save or lose money or opportunities, like the one I keep at my desk by the phone at work. And some are seductive, begging me to reach out and caress a sensual surface, books that have beconed to me in the store and asked me to hold them, cherish them, carry them with me as companions.

By now I have a large stack of used ones. Once in a while I pick one out of the shelves in order to look for something, a thought, an idea, a name, something I almost remember, lingering at the edge of my memory. My way of storing and recovering information is not straight forwards. It is a process of many twisting paths, and I walk it in my mind searching for hints. A book I read once can be a scent of cilantro - koriander - in a meal. The scent leads me to the black cover and the elegant image of a flower. The flower floats in my mind as I reach for the journals, and I find the one with the picture by Robert Mapplethorpe on the cover, and I am back in 1999, at a table in Portland, talking to one of the interviewees and players, taking notes on hypertext. Which book did I carry? What book did I read just before that? I leaf through the journal and I remember, then I remember the discussions on agency with Dr Susan Warschauer in Morgantown (at the time) and it is all reconstructed - a chain of thought almost lost, and Susan smiling at the picture of the cala lily, sharing a private joke which I didn't understand and she had to explain. But the memories don't stop and with Susan I am in FallingWater, and I remember a scarf I bought there but lost, and I remember the summer of 1999 and the woman I was then, one year almost into the PhD, travelling alone for two months in USA doing interviews.

And while I hold that journal I touch her again, the brave woman with the backpack and a grey felt hat, a heavy laptop in a bag, fit from carrying everything and walking everywhere. An anthropologist entering America for the first time, talking to the natives, living as one but somehow failing, exploring the food and the culture, reading papers and encountering the quirks of travel.

While I stand there in front of that shelf I touch another journal, a small, cheap one this time, just a notebook really. And it is filled with notes on students. Just numbers, the titles of their papers, some questions to their work, some notes to their performance on the oral assessment. From this book I find a strict, professional, controlling woman. In the next journal, a recent one, deep violet, I find a woman dancing until 4 am at the other side of the planet, the memory of tears, mine and those of a friend I fear to be lost to me.

I stop there, as I need only this one, the black one with the white cala lily, and a literature reference. But in the back of my mind is an inclination to write Susan and tell her I will most likely be in Washington in October. And a craving for fresh koriander.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

From today's garbage mail

Hi Marion,

I haven't heard from you in awhile just wanted to catch up.
What are you doing now? How's work going? I've been really busy
lately, haven't really had much time to do anything. My job has
me working like 60 hours a week, travelling all over the world.
Well I gotta run, just hit me up when you get a chance.

Amie Marion

BTW...I tried this product from India and it really works.
Believe me you gotta try it. You'll thank me and your wife will
love you for it.

What is our spammer doing here.
First, this is a "wrong address" mail. It pretends to be accidentally sent to you. This is a school of spam writing well known from "teen-age girls" sending out pictures of "themselves" with invitations to see more at their "private place." For some reason this type of errors are very common in dorms where there are webcams and a lot of lesbians.

Second, the sender appears to be male and casual. This is a man-to-man message, short, to the point and unsentimental. As we know men never chitchat or send each other useless hints, ideas or advice, anything we can learn from this mail will be useful. But we only learn casual, boring normal things from the main body of the email. Our spammer wants us to believe this is a genuine misdirected mail. This approach is a lot more believable than the teen-age-slut-dorm-webcam error. The writing is better and the logic is better.

Third: this email sends off "I am important" vibes. The fictional Amie Marion travels all over the world and works 60 hours a week. He is indispensable, active, has endless energy and manages to satisfy his wife. Every man should want to be him.

Fourth, the clever move: The point we are supposed to be interested in following up is tucked into a PS. This is reverse psychology. If it was on top, this mail would read like your average spam mail or billboard. A man does not write a man to tell him how to improve his stamina. Men give each other that kind of hints as an aside (according to the logic of this mail), a casual question attached to the end of the conversation (by the way and apropos of plumbing, how come your wife is so cheery these days?) This is done to further keep up the illusion of a casual letter sent to the wrong email box.

The approach is clever, but it all hinges on one thing: that people want to open the mail and read a letter to somebody else. It can, of course, have as the main audience everybody named Marion, but most important, it appeals to the human curiosity and gullibility through nosyness. I did not click though. But then much as I might like one, I don't have a wife.


The blog of a Ph D student from Edinburgh studying blogs and learning to be a blogger.

Hooked on games

Just leaving a link here, for the Norwegian readers: Hekta på dataspill at forskning.no. It is an old article (dec 2003) about media coverage of research on computer games. A Danish report said that games might be positive and help develop children's creativity, but the Norwegian media only cared about printing the opinions of a brain-researcher who claimed that playing games releases dopamin, a drub more addictive than heroin, making children addicted to playing. Some links, in Danish and Norwegian, at the bottom of the article.

Gamer Dad

In the article The Media War Gamer Dad, or Andrew S. Bub, writes about gaming seen from a parent's perspective. This is an interesting site, and the article offers varied views on the media violence issues, starting out with Socrates, Platon and Aristoteles.

By way of slashdot.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

New Semester

It starts again today. The cycle repeats itself. Students come, ask questions, get confused, persevere, work and eventually graduate. For me, the main difference is that I have been asked to lead the opening ceremony. It is purely a gender thing. There are too many men doing the different speaches, so they want a woman to lead it. That excuse may be a little obsolete, because this year only the musicians and the headmaster are male, the mayor of Volda and the leaders of the student organisations are all female. I may have to do this in a masculine manner, to compensate. Only problem is - they asked me not to get too long-winded.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Goofy Google

Did you use Google lately? I can't help it, but their play with illuminating the name has always made me laugh. I love the current olympics illustrations. Go, google!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

360 degrees

This is the view from the mountain that towers over our house. The mountain is called Rotsethornet, and you are not a real "volding" (person living in Volda) if you haven't been up there.

I have a strained relationship to the lump, I have been up there, once, but I have several times tried to sell the whole thing as is to Denmark. In Denmark it would be a remarkable structure, a wonderful site for trips, mountain climbers would swarm it and there would be a nice inn at the top. Here it is just ugly, and until we moved it left us in shadow 4 out of 12 months.

The great thing about the view from this house is that I have to work really hard to see the lump, as we live just at the feet of it. From the top of the mountain the view is even better, as you can look around in 360 degrees, and not see Rotsethornet anywhere.

Blogging in the radio

Friday I dropped everything and rushed out to Ålesund, to accomodate a journalist. I was interviewed on blogging, about journalism, blogs and media criticism. If you really want to hear my voice, stuttering and tense this time around, nrk.no, program 2, søndagsavisen, is where you want to go look. In Norwegian, as usual. That's what people speak, here in Norway. You'll find me half-way into the program.

(Oh, and I was going to Ålesund anyway. I pretended to be nice and eager, but I was really going that way to get to the boathouse, where I have just spent a very quiet week-end with the family and some friends I have known so long they could just as well be family.)

Friday, August 13, 2004

Weblogs and journalism

Some resources on weblogs and journalism:
Back to Iraq, Chris Allbritton's blog from Iraq
Dear Raed The blogger from Baghdad is on hiatus, but is still fondly remembered. Did you read the book?

Articles on weblogs and journalism
Blogs, journalism and the digerati, a page with some topics in the discussions around weblogs and journalism.
Press Think, Ghost of democracy in the media machine - Jay Rosen's blog
Blogging, the new journalism? - article from 2003 in journalism.co.uk
From CyberJournalist.net: Who's blogging the convention
Bloggers type it like it is from Washington post

Language debates

More countries than Norway argue over language. This was the news this morning, and when I checked out a Fistful of Euroes, they have a long article on the German language controversy.

AFOE had the same immediate response as me to the news: "Spiegel, and I imagine the rest of the refusenik press, is indulging in the single most common reason why spelling reforms are rejected: Old people don’t like them."

Now, for a German publisher, Spiegel is interesting, as the ownership is as far as I can establish independent of Axel Springer Verlag, which owns a hefty portion of the German media. But for some reason, in Germany the independent media are the conservative media!

Serious Games Summit

It should be mentioned here. October 18th - 19th 2004, Washington DC.

I am looking for a way to be able to be there. I have funding for the trip. The problem is registration fee - and something that will convince the department they should let me go to Washington rather than Trondheim that week. Any ideas?

Update: all I lack is a cheap place to stay! Fun :)

Mail Complications

If you ever plan to send something from abroad to Norway, and it is worth more than 1000 N Kr, consider your actions very carefully.

I bought a cymbal as a present for my son. I had to order it, and this took a while, so I couldn't bring it with me home from New York in April. My NYC connection picked it up and paid for it. This time around in NYC I ended up carrying a lot of heavy things, like a cymbal stand. To make the suitcase lighter I sent the cymbal by mail to my son. I had at the time no idea that the limit for packages taxfree to Norway was 1000 N Kr.

Because of the limit, we have to pay 24% taxes. That's OK, it is cheaper than returning it to NYC and then go back there and fetch it. So my son filled out the form and sent it in to let the Norwegian Mail take care of it. The form was returned, he was too young to pay the taxes, and an adult had to sign. My husband filled in the form, and sent it back. It was returned, they need the receit and a statement of the contents of the package.

Now, tell me this: This is a present, the packing slip clearly states the contents of the package and the fact that it is a gift. How is my son, the recipient of this gift, supposed to have the receipt? The sender of the whole thing isn't even any of us, it is my NYC connection (since it will be returned to him in case it is not picked up).

This whole thing is becoming absurd. I will be on the phone tomorrow, telling somebody quite clearly how absurd it is. For the rest of you, be warned, don't send anything worth more than 1000 N Kr to Norway, unless you send the receit in the mail to the recipient.

At least, don't be stupid naive idiots and let anybody know what you are sending.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Gender in the media

If you understand Norwegian, are in Oslo September 9th-10th (or can be there) and are interested in gender, power and the media, here is a conference for you:

Vi minner om konferansen ’Kjønn i media’ som går av stabelen på Høgskolen i
Oslo 9.-10. september.

Konferansens første dag tar for seg feministisk medieforskning og
iscenesettelser av kjønn i media. Andre dag tar for seg kjønn og makt i
redaksjonen. Enkelte innledninger vil ha en teoretisk innfallsvinkel, mens
andre vil presentere empiriske studier av kjønn i media og av

Konferansen avsluttes med en paneldebatt om ”Kjønn og makt i redaksjonen”.
Her vil både forskere og representanter for media delta.

I forkant av konferansen, torsdag 9. september kl. 11.30, avholder IJ
Forlaget pressekonferanse på Høgskolen der de presenterer boka: ”Kjønn og
journalistikk i mediene”, en antologi redigert av Erika Jahr. Alle som
deltar på konferansen er velkomne hit.

Se programmet her: http://kilden.forskningsradet.no/nyhet/media04.htm.

Konferansen arrangeres av Foreningen for kvinne og kjønnsforskning i Norge
(FOKK), Nordisk institutt for kvinne og kjønnsforskning (NIKK) og KILDEN, i
samarbeid med Journalistutdanningen ved Høgskolen i Oslo.

Har du spørsmål: ta kontakt med KILDEN på tlf. 24 05 59 62 eller på e-post.

Med vennlig hilsen
Heidi Elisabeth Sandnes


I received a snail-mail from Jill while I was away. It was a heavy envelope, waiting as I arrived at work. When I opened it, a stack of notes was revealed, a fragmented story. After reading Pattern Recognition on the plane home, Nick Montfort and Scott Rhettberg's implementation felt familiar. Still, I keep worrying about where to put the notes up.

Volda is not a place where you leave stickers randomly, in our orderly little town there are no stickers on walls, windows, light-poles, doors... I have to find ways to create layers, attach this to an already transient medium, like posters for other things, ads, boards outside stores or walls that are being turn down or removed soon. Perhaps I will grab the camera and take the car out, leaving traces along the road, for the passengers on the bus - a remote node for a network of messages. But I don't think I will find anything as interesting or challenging as bomb-proof trash cans, complete with security conscious officers. Perhaps I can find some other unusual and exotic places, like in the diary at the top of a mountain or something.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Yes, I know

Things have changed. I am feeling very daring. If the feeling stays with me, the changes may last longer than until tomorrow. Enjoy!

OK, I tried to change the template and let you all have rss and comments. it didn't fly. For some reason the template I had developed and modified for my test-blog did not work here :(

OK, with a little bit of help from Faster Finn, also known as Mads, I managed to fix the problem. And so, after a day of woe... Thinking with my fingers, now with comments!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Myth of the five balls
It moves through the blogs like a meme: Life gives you five balls, one rubber, four glass. The rubber one is work, if you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four are family, friends, health and integrity: these will shatter if you drop them.

I am sorry, but this metaphor does not work for me. It is all integrated. If I don't have a job to go to, I will not be able to interact in a civilised and meaningful manner with my family, my integrity will shatter and my health - particularly my mental health - will crack. If members of my family are not healthy or have problems, work will not bounce, I will miss deadlines and opportunities never regained. The few friends I have are patient, reliable, and definitely bouncy people who appreciate the demands of work and family. And my integrity? That's the most bouncy thing of all. I do what needs to be done, and the integrity had better stretch to fit.

I will however agree that all these things need to be considered, and you can't live only at work. Me, I can't live only within the closed circle of family either, though. I need all my balls in play.

Found by way of Helenes Hengekøye
Blame the game
Another murder-case is blamed on a computer game, this time Manhunt by Rockstar Games. The horrible killing of a 14 year old boy by his 17 year old friend made the parents of the victim blame the violent video game. Today Dagbladet reports that it was not the killer who played Manhunt, but the victim! The killer's motiv was the age-old motive of greed. The victim owed him money for drugs, and the killer wanted his money back.

I can however see why the parents would prefer to blame the game. It is a much more comfortable explanation to say that a killing was irrational and happened under the influence of a mind-controlling game, than to admit that your own child was using drugs, owed money to a pusher and this same pusher was somebody you knew, another child in the neighbourhood. Nobody really want to know that kind of truth.
Invasion of the Huns
Three very civilised descendants of the Huns arrived last night, this time adults from the choir Psalmus. So I am playing hostess again. Combined with a birthday I have to prepare for Saturday, that means I go on a serious baking binge today. Chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake, and when I am done with that I have to decide which chocolate cake to make for the guests, I can't fill the house with scents of baking and not share with those who live here. So, for the rest of the vacation, imagine me in the kitchen, flour to the elbows - or dishwater. Monday I go back to work. I am already looking forwards to a restful week in the office.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Farm Animals
From the weblog of Vidar Sandtrø, a movie on modern animal farms and slaughter-houses. I have to admit I didn't manage to see it through, just knowing what I would see was enough to make me sick.

Vidar hopes animals don't suffer like that in Norway. Well, I am afraid our chicken farms are not that much better, although Norwegian rules about medication in animal food are very strict and we won't be puffed full of growth hormone by eating chicken or beef here. But for pigs and cows - at least the farmers I know do not treat their animals like that. Which is why I like knowing that the meat I eat is Norwegian, and I am willing to pay more for it than for imported meat.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The last week before getting back to work is being spent doing "things that need to be done but I never have time to during the work-year". Today, that meant cleaning windows (I admit, I am very selectively domestic). Yesterday, I actually made new curtains!

For the measuring and cutting part, I had exellent help.

And we managed.

This afternoon it seems like all the urgent things are in the sunlight, on the porch, and include a comfortable chair, a sunhat and a glass of cool liquid.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Jill in the paper
Even while in France, the guru speaks to the people of Norway: Don't knit, blog! Article in Norwegian, in the paper Bergens Tidende.
Norsk medieforskning
For å være helt sikker på at jeg ikke glemmer dette, setter jeg denne linken her. andre som driver med bruks- og resepsjonsforskning kan kanskje også ha nytte av den. CFP til gruppe for bruks- og resepsjonsforskning, frist 15 august.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Eastcoast Westcoast
Two coasts, facing each other an ocean apart and several latitudes off.

A beach, not yet sunny but already warm, as I first saw it on the Long Island North Shore:

Same beach, and the blue blue blue of the water of the west side of the Atlantic:

Looking west and north from the livingroom in Volda, the first night home from vacation:

The mountain overlooking the hidden paradise where I spent the day, getting a new dose of sun, salt, wind, peace, light, beauty, and something not to be had in a motel just at the road - quiet:

The same ocean, two shores, and my cheeks burn with the same heat as two weeks ago from the same sun at a different latitude. I love summer!
Super heros
I have been used for a little quote in Dagbladet.no today, about Super heroes. A couple of journalists have read Gerard Jones' book Killing Monsters, which appeared in a Norwegian translation this year. They have taken the time to call several different researchers and people who work with children, and found both people who agree with Jones and people who make the picture more nyanced. A cute little piece.

(And Anne has an oddly appropriate post, wondering what her superpowers are. Anne, you obviously have an odd sensitivity to what questions are being asked by journalists in countries at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.)