Friday, March 20, 2015

Solar Eclipse

It was not quite how I planned it. Due to ticket mixup I was stuck in Stavanger, Norway, the night before the eclipse. I took a morning flight instead. I arrived back in Trondheim at the airport at 10 am on 20.March, right when the solar eclipse started. I could never get home to get my good camera in time, so I decided to just stay where I was and see what I could see and what I could take a picture of with my phone.

On the roof of the parking garage at the airport I could look at the reflection of the sun off the back window of my car and watch the sun slowly turning into a sliver. I could see it well, but it was too much for my phone.

A big cloud rolled in, so I got in my car and left the airport, driving west towards a break in the clouds. It got darker and darker. I took a short video from the car window as I drove. A frame from the video caught the sunlight through a cloud, dim enough for my camera to remember. Click on the photo to see a bigger version and you can see the thin crescent shape of the sun about to vanish.

I found an okay spot to stop. I punch a hole in a piece of paper and looked at the pinhole projection on another sheet I put under the rear wiper of my car. I lamented the fact that I had planned to find a place on campus where the sun would come through many holes, like through the leaves of a tree or one of the many wire meshes around my building. I thought many little holes would make a cool composite image. Then it occurred to me I could make own right there. So I punched a bunch of holes, in the shape of the crescent I was seeing on the paper.

I couldn't punch the holes with the precision I would have liked to have had if I weren't standing in a parking lot holding a sheet of paper and a pencil with the minutes ticking away. I am however satisfied with my fractal eclipse:

It was not the total eclipse like they experienced a few hours north in Svalbard, and the clouds dampened the experience a bit. But all in all given the circumstances, I think it was pretty good solar eclipse experience!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Course in USA

Taught a class in Pennsylvania... via video. One hour with a group of gifted kids in 3rd - 5th grade. Fun! Activities, poetry, music, art.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Copperhill Mountain Lodge, Åre, Sweden

My work had their julebord, aka "Christmas dinner", at a ski resort in Sweden. Pam had her work julebord the same night and Maggie had exams the next morning, so Peter, Anna and I drove 3 hours into Sweden to go to the event. The lodge was impressive, everything decked out in copper. We arrived a little early planning to go swimming, but our room had a brand-spanking-new Playstation 4, and that kind of took over.

We left early the next morning because Anna has a weekend karate seminar with Jeff Speakman, the head grandmaster of Kenpo who is coming to Norway to do this seminar just with a small group from her dojo. Cool.

Here's some pics from the trip:

Peter and Anna enjoying the kids buffet. I love the copper spherical lights in the this room.

The translation for minipancakes was given as "Platelets". Hmmm... platelets are the blood cells that cause clotting. Not a very appetizing name for a breakfast item...

The view from our balcony
The moon over a mountain on the drive home, near Meråker

Friday, December 12, 2014


My company just bought a piece of property to begin developing as a math enrichment center. 7 acres, on the fjord, with an 8000 sq.ft house, 4 cottages, workshop, and a kindergarten which pays rent.

Renovating starts right away. It will house a classroom, meeting space, coffeeshop, art gallery, math garden, bar, and store. Exciting days ahead!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kortmans Lysfabrikken

I had a teacher course in Namsos, aka "Rock City". On the way back driving through Levanger we stopped for dinner at a place that in the dark looked like a restaurant. It turned out to be a candle factory I had driven by several times before and always wondered about. We could see a diner through the windows, so we went in to check it out.

What a nice surprise! They were decked out for Christmas. The shop had several rooms of candles and a candle factory area where you could see candle-making in progress.

The diner is a 50s-themed diner, with Elvis playing on the juke-box and American 50s memorabilia everywhere. Upstairs is a kind of "museum", the owner's collection of interesting antiques. I understand the owner also collects firetrucks and has 4 historical trucks, which are outside in the summer but in storage during the winder. They are establishing a fire-fighting museum as well. It's nice to know we're all weird in our own ways!

Ready for jul

The candle factory

50s diner

50s diner

Lysfabrikken from E6

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I was in Ålesund for two days, and excited to visit a new town, especially this one! Ålesund in on the west coast of Norway, here:

It's in a cluster of islands, many connected by tunnels. Ålesund has a population 49,000, making it the 10th most populous city in Norway. In 1904, one of the worst fires in Norwegian history destroyed nearly the entire city. Everyone had to evacuate with only minutes notice. Miraculously, only one person died. The city was rebuilt between 1904-1907 in an Art Nouveau style, and most of the downtown is still consistently in this style. The downtown is just wonderful to wander around in!

There is a very tall hill next to downtown called Aksla. There is set of stairs up to the top to a restaurant. The stairs were being rebuilt when we visited, so we needed to walk up a trail on the side of the hill that took much longer but was a very very nice walk. 

Our round-trip hike took about 90 minutes. I was aware how my legs have developed since I moved to Norway. They are now really good at walking for long distances uphill. I guess I've got Norwegian legs now!

The view from the top is extraordinary. The town fills a narrow peninsula, and steep islands fill the sea in every direction. We watched a cruise ship pull out of the harbor and head off to points unknown.

It was too short of a visit to Ålesund. I'd like to come back and have a few days with no work, just time to explore this very cool city.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


It's fårikål season in Norway. Fårikål, or får - i - kål, means "mutton in cabbage". I've eaten it several times before but never tried making it.

When Maggie heard I was making fårikål her reaction: "Yay! Authentic good Norwegian food!"

Here's the secret recipe: Chop a head of cabbage into 2-3 cm strips, put in a big pot, and add 800 g of cubed mutton. Add a little salt and pepper and boil for 2 hours. 20 minutes before it's done, cook up a pot of carrots and potatoes.

That's it. So easy. And for some weird reason, it's incredibly delicious. Happy autumn!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Salamander Natt

Creepy creepy art installation in the basement of the Sparebank building in downtown Tronheim. You enter a long dark room through thick black curtains. You can see nothing. Over several minutes your eyes adjust, and long ghastly figures appear, lining all of the walls. Their king sits in the center.

Freaky. And I love it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bathroom finished!

Built custom shelving, installed new track lighting and tiled the bathroom floor. 2 years to the day that Pam started ripping crappy tiles off the walls in the bathroom, it is done.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Peter is the tallest

Peter just passed me in height. At age 14. I'm 185 cm (≈ 6'1"), and he's about 5 mm taller now. Proud pappa, meg.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Namsos - Rock City

Giving some courses in Namsos, about a 3-hour drive north from Trondheim. Namsos is famous for their music scene and gets the nickname "Rock City".

I stayed at a Rock City themed hotel.

My room had a big picture of Åge Aleksandersen. Åge got his start in Namsos.

... and the lyrics to Levva Livet on the carpet

And a big crazy rose on the wall. Not sure if there's an Åge connection there.

Åge was also in the restaurant.

Prudence's bus was parked outside. This was Åge's band from the early 70s.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hurtigrute cruise ship

Onward to Narvik

Back on the boat at Hammerfest, we continued our conference and our trip toward Harstad, where we would disembark and head to the airport while the cruise ship continued its route southward along the coast.

I enjoyed this trip very much, and would like to take the complete trip someday, without a conference so I could concentrate on doing absolutely nothing but watching the world go by.
Some great scenery off the back of the boat.

It was too cloudy to see Northern lights on the trip, but the sea and mountains were stunning.

The cabins are small but functional
Several lounges and comfy areas on the boat
With great views out all windows
Dance floor
The forward cabin as we glide into our final stop
An anarchist hall outside the boat terminal in Harstad
And finally, from the airplane on the way home