Friday, May 15, 2009

The Rain

I came from the gym and was tired. After a shower I lay down on the bed. That was when I saw the blinking through the curtains. Thunder and lightning! I went to pull out the two plugs that supply my studio gear with power; just in case. There isn't much chance of something going wrong and it all should get well covered by the insurance, but you know: -deadlines coming up, and few backups. Ups! I opened the balcony door and walked outside. My balcony is shielded from the weather by the one above so I could stand out there barefoot and remain as dry as a newly showered can be. It's quite nice with the lights suddenly flaring through the sky! I went to get my SLR camera, found the settings I wanted and just stood there and waited. I missed a couple of blinks (they pass faster than I thought) and then I ran out of battery... -Had to put the project on ice and the battery is charging in the kitchen now.

I love the sound of the rain. I didn't realize how much I love it until recently. It's been rainy for a few days and I've been hearing the sound of cars and double decker busses on wet asphalt again. It reminds me about East Coast. Like, just when the rain is passing and all the streets of Singapore are super wet. Nighttime in Marine Crescent, open window, world falling asleep, me falling asleep, smell of the sea, colder air, smell of local mini "jungle" -kind of like cinnamon. No sea here in the middle of England. I don't think I would like the sounds so much if it wasn't for my days in Singapore.

I remember though, countless times, falling asleep to the sound of rain or snow falling on my tent. If it's not a psycho-storm and a whole new level in noise it's quite nice. Makes me fall asleep quite easily. I used to say that rain against my tent was one of the nicest sounds I knew. I think that can be applied to wet streets sounding like Asia too now.

My windows are almost all going from floor till roof so I drew the curtains aside and sat down in my bed writing this while watching the roofs of the town. And the occasional blinking from the lightning off course. The kitchen window is slightly open so I can hear the street still. Kind of like being in my room on East Coast with the window open in the living room when the tropical showers dies out.

Someone were shouting at each other down at the street. Flippin' Europe! Happens all the time, fights and all sorts of things. Yesterday, some schmock set it in his mind to take the trashcan's various content and components and spread it out across the street while roaring. Ok, I can hear you laughing, but we don't have that kind of wackos here often though. But drunk people fighting in the weekends and other people screaming at each other at random times. Too much poverty, too much alcohol! I'm not used to this. What? Get used to it spoiled Norwegian! No, never! They get used to behaving dignified and properly and balancing their alcohol intake. I'll never leave who I am. I'll always be different. Abroad I have an excuse, and if I need one at home it is just that I am me.

The sun is going down later and slower now. The rain has stopped and everything is getting darker. Just liked the sounds, still tired. Night. Soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Q, no A

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was this girl that was interested in me. She would grab my hand at random times, her face would be a flirt in it self, but she never uttered her interest in words. We used to rock up at some of the same places quite regularly and we were also starting to become friends. Just normal friends. The romantic interest was not mutual, though she was a beautiful and interesting young woman in many good ways.

One day she disappeared off my radar all together. All though we still frequented the same places and had many friends in common, she no longer spent any time... or dare I say, wasted any time around me. So much for that friendship I laughed to myself. But I have opposite stories as well, where the friendship might even have grown stronger.

What is it? If you are found not to be husband-material any more you are discarded as a friend? You see, I think the title "husband (material)" is a super-structure that is built on a friendship sub-structure.

Once I introduced two people. They later became a couple and then they broke up. I was spending some time with her some time later, and she talked about the loss of her boyfriend. She started crying and said, "I don't mind loosing a boyfriend" -but in the process she lost a friend. Some people are sensible enough to stay friends though.

What if the friendship comes first? And then a bigger interest develops maybe from both, and then one of the parts bail out. You should think they went back to being friends right? Friends to start with, ending as friends. No reason for one part to retract? Maybe I'm just too Norwegian...? I have very few places in my heart that I give to people to come really close. If someone changes their mind about the romantic superstructure I don't understand why the underlying friendship has to go, or suffer injury. Was my friendship that cheap? Romantic interest detected or broken; no longer material for more than friendship spells discarded or decreased relations?

Ain't it funny? Dark blind alley entered in sunshine with happy company and you walk out again confused and alone in the dark of night. We shall all die, and you wonder what you learn in times like those. One more day of your life spent on something unnecessary. But it's not unnecessary is it? Nothing is. At least it makes great knowledge for raising and guiding future sons. Thank God!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Brandy in a Whiskey Glass

(Leeds, March 2009)

I was down at a pub-club-whateva' the other day. And fond as I am of Cognac I ordered a Brandy. No that sentence didn't make full sense, but I've got the expensive bottles at home and I don't order them in bars when the single shots of some super "XO" costs what an entire bottle of Brandy costs at the mall. So I went for a quite normal Courvasier V.S. The guy at the bar pulled out a glass and poured it up. That is, a whiskey glass made of plastic! I know it's not exactly from the Grande Champagne district but hey...! Well, I guess they had a lot of students as a part of their clientele and quite a few seemed to go there to have too much alcohol. I for me have never been drunk and have no intention about trying it out, but for safety's sake, don't give the kids proper Cognac glasses! Ok, I can get that one. Then the bartender leant across the bar desk and tried to say something. I couldn't hear what it was through the music and asked him to repeat. "Do you want ice with it, or do you want it straight?" "Straight please!"

Ice!? *@#$&%$**!! This is no blooming Scotch! -Think someone must have mistaken the bottle for Whiskey. So there I was on the dance floor with my Brandy in a plastic Whiskey glass. Maybe I don't go out enough. But I am learning well how to cope with reduced standards. For better and for worse.

Inspiring People

Yesterday I had dinner with a few of my friends. It was a nice break off from my thoughts of my college work. One of the guys is a graphical designer, one soon a medical Doctor, one an energy trader and the other two I frankly don't know what do.

Other people inspire! Their entrepreneurial ideas especially. Anything that spells new creativity. New Creations. New things, inventions, progress.

On the first dinner I hosted in Singapore I invited a handful of friends. I did it to show that they were people I was really starting to appreciate for more than just random meetings in the college canteen. My Norwegian dishes soon became a discussion topic around the table, and quite seriously, if I had stayed in Singapore one more year, a restaurant might well have become a business venture set into operation. Maybe in the future... I wanted the people to know I appreciated them. But what came out of that night woke up forgotten dreams and set me on new ideas. A lot for a dinner! They were amazed by the food, but the real gift was given to me.

I was reading through Time Magazine's "The World's 100 Most Influential People" today. A lot of great people indeed, and a few not so great ones too. But many people with inspiring stories and drives.

Barack and Michelle Obama, John Legend (by Quincy Jones!), Chesley B. Sullenberger (by General Chuck Yeager!), Rick Warren, Hadizatou Mani, Clooney, Somaly Mam (Take the hat of for this amazing Lady! I remember Gen. MacArthur's words: "I will return." The enemy has everything to fear from people like this, and the free world has every reason to love them! As the Wespoint slogan goes: "Duty Honor, Country - Duty you are called to and can not leave, honor that which deserves honor, and stand up for those who rely on you. She inherits the same determined persistency as any officer should, and it is of these people MacArthur said that the army (here: the people) would just be a "mob" if they were not present. She brings order to chaos, restores and rebuilds where most people would have limited the massive undertaking and favor only to themselves. Here here!), Lang Lang (by Herbie Hancock!), Kate Winslet (by Pete Jackson), Werner Herzhog (Love the great German name!), Tim Geithner, Brad Pitt, Boris Johnson (Love the guy!), Paul Kagame (I had no idea), Thomas Dart (You rock!) ans Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Has been on my hero list for quite some time now.)

Some people just inspire...


When people talk about getting to know themselves, discovering new sides of them selves or their performances, and they go: I'm sure you all recognize this from your own lives... I am usually one of the very few that silently just sit and shake my head. I know who I am, I have never or at least very seldom doubted a talent or skill I knew I possessed. I know what I can, I know who I am and I don't need anyone's approval to believe in the simple mechanics of my own human soul.

You know that scene from Fightclub where the lead characters go something like:
"Oh, I just visited the new fightclub in this or that city."
"There is a new one there?"
"I thought you started that one..."
Then looking at each other like, "who is out there playing us then?"
OK, it's ages since I've seen it, I know this is a hopelessly inaccurate reproduction.

Or even more when one of the dudes comes to one of the fight clubs and meets this guy with a huge thingy around his neck to keep his beaten and wounded head up. The main character is shocked by the sight and walks up to the man and asks,
"Who did this to you?"
The other guy looks back in disbelief to find out if it is a joke. It is not and he replies,
"you did, Sir!"

Or even better than that when in one of the final scenes the dude meets up with Brad Pitt's character and understands that it is himself. He pretends to shoot himself in the head, but it's just a con and the other fella dies. The mirror image, not himself. The other men find him wounded but he is really just happy to have gotten ridd of the devil. And the other guys, not knowing what just happened clench their jaws, saying with a sense of reverence: "He's a hard bastard the boss!"

And suddenly the weird opening scene where the man is seemingly fighting with Brad Pitt, seconds later is fighting the air, makes sense.

He was checking credit card bills, plane tickets and tracking down his friend's moves around the world just to find that he was chasing himself. A double.

I know who I am, I know what I am capable of. Lately I have experienced some uncommon doubt. I think there's a double. I've started to find his traces, but he doesn't know it yet. Don't get me wrong, I'm not psychotic, but I think it is my turn to say: I'm sure some of you recognize this from your own lives... I have friends who went on to become engineers, sales people, administrators, doctors, lawyers and a lot more. Some of them think of anything like this kind of reflection as dangerous and unusual. But those very few that would claim that are the same ones that sold the dreams they set out to accomplish for life's comforts, and it's counterpart: the challenges of the respective life you choose. We shall all die. The time for decisive action, love and fun is now!

He's starting to annoy me. I'm on his track. The double me. When I find him I'll kill him. But someone is standing almost invisibly behind him. But I always had good eyes. And the one behind has a lot to fear for his plans. Men was not intended this way.

After I make the kill I'll come out on the other side and maybe say the unusual words:
"I learned something about myself."

That Which Upon All Things Rest

Have you ever been so scared that you thought there was no way out? That this is the end? Whether you've been climbing, had assignment dues, met yourself in the door, seen your car crash in slow motion from behind the steering wheel or other things...

When God is the only one left to trust. Everything else is stripped away, when there is nothing between you and death. None of your skill, none of your circumstances can save you. Only He can.

Warm Houses

Norway, February/ March 2009

I was just down in the workshop in the basement and was reminded of what people so often ask in Britain. "Is it always really cold in Norway?" I explain that no it isn't and that in the summer we can have more than 30 degrees Celsius on warm days, though on a rainy day it will be much less. The basement is cold, but houses here are built to cope with all aspects of temperature and weather in a much more efficient way than where I live in the UK.

I'm off back to Leeds tomorrow and will be missing my chair. We just had reading-week in College. I spent it home in Norway celebrating my father's birthday and skiing. -and reading. Though I didn't read anything school-related. I read about aviation news, strategic air defense, cooking, Christian books and training. And I listened to Lisa Nilson. Thank God for all the good music that has come out of Sweden over the last hundred years.

Yes, I'll be missing my chair. It's perfect to sit in while reading and the house is warm. No running to the wardrobe to get extra clothes. If it gets cold -and it does- I go down into the even colder basement and fetch some wood. I chop it up with an axe and cut pieces of it that I can light up with. One of the woodburners is situated three meters from me when I read. No fancy and beautiful but cold window panels of my UK apartment to freeze me down on cold days. But plenty of birch wood planted by my great grandfather Harald that burns evenly and produces much heat.

Norway can be cold, but I'm always warm.