Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Weekend


This weekend has for all intents and purposes been rather good. The yearly MASH theme party at the Academy was outstanding. Many a good costume and generally good feeling all around.

Also had a nice dinner at the homestead with good friends. It certainly does put things in perspective, and especially in these dark Trondheim days before the snow, such gatherings are important. It is so easy to sink into a dark hole when the sun says
bye-bye. Anyhew I have to put in a little writing time or else CW will have my head on a plate. Inspiration, NOW!

(you can't imagine the look on the taxi driver's face when he sees this guy with so much fake but realistic looking blood on his face, climb into his cab)

Friday, October 16, 2009

The RNoAF Academy 30 km equivallency march

Another good ol fashioned Air Force experience completed. On a beautiful Trondheim autumn day (and there are not many of them mind you) I weigh down my backpack with sand to about 11.4 kg. I board a perfectly good bus on a ride that consists of establishing possible route strategies with my seat neighbour. The race was on. Trudging through the slush and snow, up and down in the terrain, feels good. It is nice to get out once a the while and really feel the hate build up.

Having a very steep incline at the end of the course was especially pleasing. I tried to follow the Major as long as I could but found myself in the woods (luckily not in the dark) with nothing but silence around me. It is always more comforting to hear the bewildered footsteps of a fellow runner so you at least know you are in the ball park and not by, as I thought, the ticket counter. Eventually I began to notice the many possible shortcuts I "could have" taken. Must be true what the warfare theorists say, "war favours the bold".

I found it a really nice touch that the last stretch before the incline ski hill was basically flat and downhill which gave me a false sense of accomplishment and dare I say superiority. After Tine, who I thought I had left far behind, passed me at the top of Gråkallen, I knew that in a march like this neither the down hill slopes nor the flat stretches are your friend, they are Tine's! Well played, well played indeed!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reading Circle Session 1

After labouring high and lo and compiling reading material, I can finally see the fruits of my work. The first English language reading circle meeting has just been completed and I am pretty satisfied. Not the maximum turnout but the start up phase is usually bumpy, according to my Hungarian colleague. 3 and a half people plus myself was a good number, and conversation was interesting and on point. Although I will admit some slight modifications should be made in terms of how much reading should be done from meeting to meeting. Perhaps a focus on select chapters rather than whole compendiums would be useful? that is still in the pipe works.
As a discussion text, Boyd biography lends itself as a piece to debate leadership, engineering, mentoring, and the development of the Air Force through the first Cold War decades. Conclusion is, Boyd respected skill and not rank. He was charismatic, unorthodox but commanded immediate respect. He earned himself a reputation among his peers and subordinates, and likewise among the people he pissed off which were more often than not his superiors. In my humble opinion, Boyd comes off as a person who some people admired for what he did and how he did it, while others despised him for the same reasons.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There are long work days and then there are long work days

I have to hand it to Tuesdays, they simply envelope you. Today was an especially long day at work. A little teaching, a little tutoring, a little more teaching and then, yes, a little more teaching. I love it to depths, but even so I think that the clockwork has to run smoothly. The little inconsistencies and discrepancies and quasi injustices are like rust in the cog works of the grandfather watch that is my day. Whether or not I try to de-rust the cogs is another matter, but every now and then the rust interferes and the seconds slow or skip. Sometimes time catches up and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I tweak the clock, I adjust it, I forward time. Then the day moves forward. Sooner or later, I think some coke might do the trick.

Anyhew....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Light a fire under it!

Already two weeks into actually teaching and most of my time has been used on other jobs that have surfaced out of nowhere. Proof reading is a good way to supplement a meagre regular income, but sometimes it is just a pain in the ass.It is not the regular proof reading assignment that I can predict I will receive, or the ones who give me decent deadlines, but it is the I-need-this-proof-read-or-translated-ASAP stuff that really annoys me. Of course for the sake of repeat work I can not decline, after all it is reputation building. I do however hate the assumption others might have that I sit in a little cubicle and process Word documents like some sort of machine, even though that's my process.

Anyhew, one long translation and proof read article later, I am ready to begin teaching grammar. There's something about grammar that evokes a love/hate feeling within me. I hate grammar when it causes trouble for me, but love to explain the solutions to those very problems to others. Near to my heart are all those little exceptions in English grammar that have no clear rules, like irregular nouns. Like how would you know the plural form of "foot" is "feet" without actually being told that it is. I do like that fact that this area of grammar poses the same challenge as vocabulary learning, you simply must apply a learning-by-doing approach it.

Enough about that. After two weeks of nursing a cold (with the exception of the opening
beercall and D and I's apartment warming party which really put a dent in my voice, but well worth it) I am finally as of two days ago at 100% operating efficiency. Ready to win hearts and minds and make these become One with the world of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and zero plurals. ( I can just sense my former students sweating at the sound of these black magic words). Brace yourselves!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Homage to those who admin too much during their Air Force work day!

Our Outlook, Who art in Windows
Hallowed be Thy Inbox;
Thy messages come,
Thy drafts be done,
on un-classified as it is on classified PC's.
Give us this day our daily calendar,
and forgive us our spam,
as we forgive those who spam against us;
and lead us not into websites that might get us dishonorably discharged,
but deliver us from multiple recipients and mail-lists. Click Ok or Cancel.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Godfather

Such a great start to this autumn's working life. I am in day 13 or so of a light cold. I definitely do NOT have the swine flu. But I have been coughing up a storm, and like some sort of ab-fantastic electrode machine to train the body's muscles, incessant coughing does the same for both the muscles around the stomach, ribs, and the back. Now my voice sounds like the godfather, and though it commands the respect of the character who I play in real life, I think I could do without the coughing at least.

But I am not exactly innocent in my efforts to regain full health. After the two last weekend parties, which were of course Awesome, I am a little worse for wear. Anyhew, thanks to my contact, I have been able to score some groovy cough medicine, and salvation is nigh. Next week both jobs start up and I aim to be at 100% again. If the voice is better, then at least I can give instructions and guidance, if not, well then it could get really entertaining.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The year is open!

Another Saturday dawns and it seems to be a good day. Air Force Beer Call last was definitely awesome, but it made me realize how really bad I am at Norwegian dialects. I don't intend to improve in any way. But at least the entertainment portion did not disappoint too much.

On another note, I have employment secured for another year, and am really looking forward to getting my hands into it. The challenges, the rewards, the let downs. All hands on deck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Boyd - Tiger of the air

After a nice and a more than justifiably extensive vacation time, I am back in Trondheim ready improve and enhance on every level. As stated in previous posts, the summer's escapades have been rewarding and new. Definitely got a taste for the mountain hiking, and a repeat of that must be considered in the near future.
Anyhew. The summer has not come and gone wanting of academic sustenance. 3 books were read. A 4th was started about a week ago and lo and behold done reading. Always a good sign when I can finish a book quickly. It generally means it was more than a little interesting. Boyd - The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram is an excellent book I recommend to anybody who likes good bio's and is also interested in the air force and air-to-air combat. Boyd, who I previously only knew by name and reputation had quite a fascinating life, mostly due to what he accomplished and his being a bit of a maverick in the officer cadre of the USAF. Coram's style is that of a zealot but signals, where appropriate, how some of the stories told from 2nd and 3rd hand sources should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, Boyd is depicted as iconic, unappreciated, but truly the high priest of the church of air-to-air combat tactics.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blefjell Mountain visited

After a sizeable investment in mountain gear, I eventually trekked up to Blefjell Mountain. A 3-day hike in good company was ultimately successful. Colorblindness notwithstanding I managed to glas the red T's that marked the trail. Though the first day was bogged down with an incident of me seeing how well my shoes could float down a brook, 24 hours and a pair of dry boots later, the trek went on to the top. Although the summit was never reached due to thick fog, it still went a long way to illustrate the importance of navigation. An importance which was doubly emphasized by the neccessity for map redundancy halfway through the trek. That being said, the next trek will need to trumph this in terms of, well, everything, except maybe foolhardiness, that can stay behind.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A few ice cubes never hurt anyone

I could not help myself commenting on the recent weather down here in Moss. In the decade and a half I have lived in Moss I have never seen a summer storm like this. Rain and wind, and hail like it's nobody's business. These things were so big (marble size) that several of the neighbourhood's cars alarms went off.
video

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thank god the Ipod isn't green or red,


So, I am on day 3 of yard work at the family's place in Moss. I am sporting my camelback, jamming to the ipod in the 30 degree heat. Life is essentially good. We have a fence, or rather a wall, running along the backyard seperating the property from the E6 highway. It's mostly to shield our ears from the noise. Now the other side of the fence is basically steep hill ending in a gorge-like area filled with underbrush. Your basic trees, bushes, poison ivy, insects of all kinds and the occasional wild cat. To put it succinctly, we simply do not go back over there, ever! But this little hellish gorge does serve one very useful purpose, as a dumping area for the excess plant growth in the garden. In the process of lugging tree branches up the ladder, one smaller branch caught hold of my Ipod. Now I didn't actually see it go flying with the branch over the wall, but I did see the headphones cord dangling with, to my surprise, no ipod attached. FML.

In this instance, I was thinking, "that did not just happen, ipod must still be in my pocket". It was not. Usually the wall has basically had a one way function. Whatever goes over it does not come back. As Stephen King-ish as that sounds, and this line of thought did not do much to help me, there was no way I would not leap over (carefully climb down) the 4 meter high wall. After 15 minutes in this off the grid area, Ipod was found and yard work could safely continue. I shudder to think how bad it would have been had the Ipod been green or red, as I can't tell those apart. Maybe Tine is right in her assessment that everything is usually better in pink.

On a brighter note, finished reading a book today, One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick. A must read for anybody interested in an accessible biography of a Marine Corps officer's education and experiences during the invasion of Iraq.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moss bound

The packing has begun. Tomorrow I depart Trønderlag and arrive Østlandet. Back to the old house for 2 and a half weeks of reading, socializing and painting. Project patteo pool is a priority and must be completed ASAP because warm weather is expected. Although it is not intolerably warm, a little poolside chill out never hurt anyone.

I have to pack a lot of stuff I am only going to use for one evening but it has to come. Thank god for the new rucksack. With all the clothes I have found in the moving process it would have made sense to have some kind of surplus depot in Moss rather than giving it the ol' heave hoe.

I am trying to MacGyver an apparatus that will alow our plants to slowly receive water, so far no success. It is one of those things that sounds really good on paper, but in reality there are far too many variables, gravity and water pressure being the most prominent. I have settled to end the evening on a high note, a program about Gamma Ray Bursts.

English Quid Pro Quo

It is hot in Trondheim and it is awesome and epic. Two words I have found myself using a lot lately, either out loud or in my inner musings. Daniel and Carl have actually had their English rub off on me. Of course these words come natural as breathing to them, it is almost a way of life. Everyone has their signature word or phrase and mine is just nice. No, seriously, the word "nice". I say it with much gusto. One more day of strategic item choices for packing and I should be off to Moss for a couple of weeks. Got some well-laid plans for self-improvement and relaxation. (Pictures to follow)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The summer trek is taking shape

In preparation for the summer vacation and the impending mountain hike, I have tirelessly searched for a pair of hiking boots. After reading many a review of the expert and layman kind, I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted a pair of Scarpa Mustang's. Although viciously overpriced in Norway, shipping and custom charges would have evened it out anyways. So I go down to the local mountaineering (and I use the term loosely) store to see what we can see. I try on several types and brands of shoes (yes I know no shame when it comes to testing the patience of store clerks), in various sizes of course. I finally fall upon these babies. It goes without saying that I stumbled (because the shoes didn't fit) upon the sizing dilemma I have with shoes. In this case, the female model's color was not that bad, in fact perhaps slightly better. As an added bonus to the purchase, perhaps because the seller felt I had somehow been emasculated by the having to settle on the female model (although they were just the right size), he threw in a pair of thick smart wool socks. So I can check that off my list of summer purchases.


On a totally different note, I will be continuing (with no hesitation from myself) my job in the area of winning hearts and minds but mostly teaching English for the future leaders of tomorrow. Every year I get better at my job, and hopefully this coming year will be legen------wait for it----DARY! So I plan to go above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to really do well. Now it just remains to be seen if a continuing great opportunity will suddenly become ideal. Like a wise woman once said, visualize and it will happen! To anyone who has never seen "Field of dreams", I recommend you do. Mental note to self: Never build a baseball field.

Flavour of the day: Cinnamon

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Onsdagsloungen, or loosely translated the Wednesday Lounge

Now I have managed to get a reputation, I think, due to my frequencies at the bar and Stagbar for those of you who know what that is. But my work has not gone unanswered. Today, or rather the day before yesterday, the cadets of class 59, headed by the bar chief DE, honored me with a membership in the elite, yet elusive and enviable "Onsdagsloungen" club.
This might sound a bit lame, and dare I say desperate, but one of the perks of being a member of this club is that I finally get a mission patch. I am sure the tipping point was my "yard of ale" stunt some days ago, but I will wear the patch with pride! Cheers sirs and mams.

Friday, June 5, 2009

And........NO MORE STUDENT HOUSING

After a lovely 6 years in student housing, I have finally moved out. The new apartment is awesome. Lots of space (compared to student housing, that is not saying much), good water pressure, sufficient warm water and a couch. Good shelf space and river adjacent! Let the good times roll.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The first shipment is away!

The moving progresses and I finally have gotten the key for the place. With some helpful aid of a RAV4 and many hands, my heavy 50 litre boxes are now in the storage room in the near vicinity of the apartment. All that remains is one more little shipping trip and all my stuff should be safely in place. Then starts the unpacking, one nick knack at a time.

On a completely different note, I have discovered the parallel universe that is the Stagbar. And then I think to myself, what is a stag. oh yes a deer-like creature, but it is something more. As a noun it is clearly mundane, but what about as a state of being. To arrive stag means to arrive without female company. A stag party would then be an all male party. So I ask the question, in this politically correct age, is the Stagbar, or rather was the Stagbar initially an all male club. But certainly in this day an age this does not apply. But tradition is good, and if it ain't broke, why fix it.
Could use a little renovation while we're at it (C&D, make it so!).


Friday, May 29, 2009

"Stuff"


Moving is tricky, on many many levels. As I espied my shelves of oh so many intriguing and utterly useless books, I think to myself "two boxes should cut it". Optimistic to say the least. I filled 4x50 litre boxes with mostly books and DVDs. It goes without saying that anybody who is a lover of books, either on a scholarly or recreational level, should A) work out on a regular basis, B) Never move. Option B is ironically enough not an option. and option A, well let's just let bygones be bygones. I am convinced that this is how the library system got started. Some poor bloke manages to accumulate so many books that moving them becomes impossible. So what is the next logical step. You move yourself away and erect a library around your books. Now I don't want to brag that I am anywhere near library level, and maybe that would not even be a good thing, but at least for now my books are secured.

Step 3 in the great moving process is to figure out what to do with all the little nick knacks lying around. Where they came from is not really important, the fact that I still have them is. I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine Mr. Arlov the other day where we touched upon an issue of much repute. "Stuff". Stuff that you receive over the years, be it a little post-it with a a smiley from a friend, or an eventually broken-down lamp, one might not really be bothered to toss it away. And so it gathers, slowly but surely. As the years pass this stuff becomes something more than just stuff. By keeping it around you inadvertently give it a higher status than it should have, as if you are afraid your brain might forget everything but what is in front of your eyes one day. So the stuff becomes something utterly person and dare I say defining. Now Mrs. Bull would have me have a conversation with myself concerning my stuff, and I tend to agree. I need to start asking myself the really difficult question. "Does Dan Brown's novels really deserve a re-reading at any point in my life. Should it be uplifted to the status of Shakespeare's collected works. Should it be trashed with the other pocketbooks I bought on a whim. The answer is yes. But, I am clearly not in any state to make such decisions, so for now simply packing down my belongings will have to do, and then chucking them away will be done when I unpack again.

When I reminisce back to the early days of post-high school right before the move up to Trondheim, I do remember that most of my nick knacks went in non-descript plastic bags and remain in drawer, ready to be nostalgically opened one day. The new place has a huge paper trash container in the basement, I think I will bide my time and one night, soon enough, chuck the lot of the useless stuff.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On boxes and other stuff I "might" need.

So I am trying to motivate myself to begin the big clean out. Before I can even think about what and how I will pack away my belongings, I first have to get rid of the crap I really should not be saving. If Oprah is any consolation on this point, it is that if you have to think more than two seconds if something should be kept or not, throw....it....out. Now of course boxes would be perfect to stow my various collections of books, DVDs and generally trinkets of sentimental value (believe you me, it has gone way past the cute kitty post-card line). However, the first thing I needed to toss today was in fact, boxes. A testament to my power of purchase but despite that they should have been thrown years ago, not kept to be used for potential coffins for a failing shoe (yes still with the shoes).

Finally got to use my leatherman for something other than opening those new parcels to begin with. Aside from that the many papers stuffed in bags under my bed and in the rat-sized crawl-space between my closet and the ceiling of my den needed to be dealt with. I say rat-sized because lets face it, I am a pack rat. So these papers might as well have been papyrus belonging to some Pharaoh because relatively speaking I would not need to hang on to an essay I wrote on an exam 6 years ago. Interesting yes, but I would like to think I might reminisce, years from now, of something a bit more monumental, like an essay written 3 years ago. This is the king of logic that has created a pile of papers that would effectively kill any shredder (except maybe the industrial one at work, that one is wicked!).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The search ends

After much searching and contemplation during the past few weeks I have finally been able to settle on a pair of shoes. This may sound mundane and perhaps even superficial to most, but my feet have generally been my friends, through good times and bad, through drunk and sober nights alike. My frakking leg on the other hand is another story, which I can talk about over a beer sometime.

The shoe search was pretty much doomed by a preference for keeping feet dry, and as I do reside in a region where rain is predominant, it seemed like a safe bet. But gore-tex is just no substitute for general comfort and cushioning. I am sure that can be said for a lot of situations. After staking out many a shoe store (from the inside of course) I came to a most disconcerting revelation: the shoe industry does not cater to men's sizes below 41 European. So the search was complicated by another element: I can either walk around in big shoes, or perfect fitting women's shoes. The wisdom of the latter would not have been so faulty (HEY, if the shoe fits, wear it!) had it not been for the colors. Now, it should be said that I am colorblind, something I am reminded of weekly whenever a powerpoint presentation at work becomes, let's just call it "creative", and being a proponent of the arts, I have to support this kind of initiative (you know who you are!). However, I could not bring myself to wear bluestriped shoes. I may not know colors, but I do have some sense of self-respect.

In the end, I found a pair of shoes that was indeed created for men (by men) in a decent color (black, the only color I can with little or no problem see. People say that one shouldn't judge the world in terms of black and white, well that is often quite NOT helpful to me at all). Of course it cost me my shirt, one of the colored ones I don't care much for!

It's going to be Legen ----wait for it-----dary!!

After much contemplation and, needless to say, inspiration, I have decided I would begin blogging. The thought did obviously occur to me "Why blog, what to blog, and is this really in my best interest as I find myself almost too immersed in facebook already?". The old me would have thought of some very philosophical and justifiable reason for bloging, but the current curious square-eye will clearly follow the great philosopher Nike.

The actual fact of the matter is that I hardly have the time to do any "real" writing or "reading" anymore. You know, the real scholarly stuff that forces one to re-evaluate everything one sees and knows. So I am reduced to reading blogs, but far be it for me to condemn the blogousphere (If it is misspelled, I just coined a new word!). I am lately finding blogs quite enjoyable, barring they are well written of course. So for my literary relief and conduit, hello world! (or the two or three who might browse my blog from time to time)

After having thrown back a few at the bar, I find myself in need of a blog. So much so perhaps that it can be equated to the elation of a woman who has found (she thinks) the perfect pair of shoes. You know it will give immediate gratification, and that people will admire you for it, but the question will always linger........(you guessed it).....where will it take me?

As work slow trickles to a stop for this school year, I find myself wanting. Regrets, don't think so. Too much time on my hands, maybe. Looking out for my guys' best interest, definitely. Despite the lack of intensive workloads, I find myself still having some scraps on my plate, or rather morsels of labour hidden in between my sofa cushions, which seem to be slipping my mind. Procrastination, thou art a tricky little minx!