Monday, April 30, 2012

Visitors

Greg, an old high school buddy visited this weekend. He was joined by some friends of his from Denmark, a couple with two children. We had a very nice four days together, seeing Trondheim and hanging out. The weather behaved fairly well. We made new friends and very much enjoyed the company. Here's a few random pics from the weekend.

Greg discovers the old military public urinal, still functional. This was built near barracks in response to the public's complaints about soldiers pissing in alleyways.

The kids enjoying milkshakes at Trondheim's American 50s diner, Pair-a-Dice.

Greg rides the Orbitron at the Vitensenteret. He managed to keep his lunch down (up?)

Pam with baby Ewan in our back yard. We took a short 'nature hike' up the hill in our back yard. Spectacular view!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Peter's exhibition

Peter's class exhibited their semester projects and gave a show with singing and dancing. It was an impressive display of their work this spring. Peter was very proud. Here he is at his group's table, and singing in the performance.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Construction on math room begins

Construction began today on a math room I designed with Matematikkhuset. We'll be building two rooms at a kindergarten, one for 0-3 year-olds and another for 3-5 year-olds. The school's been great, they're excited and so are we. Here's the first picture.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting ready for exhibition

Peter's class has been working all year on individual and team projects that they will be presenting this week. Peter's project is on the future of social computer gaming. He's done five projects in connection to the presentation, including research on the history of video games and writing his own computer game. Here he is working on organizing cards that demonstrate the structure of the adventure game he's created. It was a huge organizational challenge that we spent a good part of Sunday working on at home. Exhibition is on Friday. He's excited and nervous.




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bonfire

Pam's done a lot of trimming in the yard lately, enlisting the help of Martin with his cutting tools on several occasions. We had a big big pile of yard waste, and rather than run it to the yard waste dump (which collects yard waste for free), Martin and I had a bonfire instead. It's probably not legal. But it was really cool and we burnt up most of the trimmings. Less waste to drive away!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Rapidly changing light

I don't know why I take so many photos out the window of my house. It's always so amazing looking and the pictures never anywhere near as good as the view.

The light is changing so rapidly now. It gets light before 7 and the sun is still up at 9 pm. Winter darkness lasts so long and then disappears so quickly. I've still not gotten used to the strange light this far north. I like it.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Terror

The trial of the terrorist who killed 77 people last summer begins today. Today on Google News (international) the trial was the top story. Every day for the past year there have been stories on him in the paper. Every day. The country is riveted. I don't want to see his face. I don't want to think about his name. I tried to not learn his name, but I'm afraid I have anyways. I will not read his manifesto. I'm not interested in anything this horrible person has to say. The sooner is put away somewhere far from sight and sound the better.

Oops. Too soon.

Too soon! Thought it was spring, then in the night... snow.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring!

Nice weather! It's great to be back to sunshine. We took Anna and the dog down to the fjord for a walk. Indy splashed in the cold water while Anna and I worked on skipping stones. Anna got the rocks to hop a few times.

Back home, Pam worked in the yard in the sunshine while I cleaned the grill and hung a swing chair. We grilled dogs and burgers and it really feels like spring is here at last!

Indy wants a seagull. Badly.
 On the edge of the fjord along one particular inlet is a wide swath of trash, mainly plastic mixed with wood. This is where the current sends flotsam and high tide deposits it. Its disappointing to see so much trash and I like to think that it has been blown into the fjord and not thoughtlessly discarded, but I think there's plenty of both. On the beach area I saw two children with bags picking up trash, and that made me feel much better.


Fantastic shades of green along one stretch of rocks.

The grill is up and running! Kids playing in the yard... spring is here!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jyväskylä

It took my a long time to learn how to pronounce "Jyväskylä", the name of the city I visited in Finland (it's pronounced: yoo-VEHS-koo-leh). Here I gave a talk on math art to the public and a keynote talk at a math art seminar. I met wonderful people, made great contacts, and now have projects underway with my friends on the other side of the Gulf of Bothnia.

Here's a random collection of experiences from my visit:

The compass in the middle of downtown Jyväskylä. It's a wonderful student city, with great shops, clubs and restaurants.


For lunch at the campus cafeteria you can get homemade beer. It's non-alcoholic. I was afraid to drink it at first, but it was a delicious bubbly malty sweet beverage, much like soda.

An artist from Helsinki came up to the seminar to find someone to talk to about his discoveries with non-periodic tilings of orders 5, 7, 9, 11, etc. We had lunch together and geeked out over his very cool drawings and mathematics.

My friend Kristof with his girlfriend and her son. I spend a lovely evening with the family juggling, playing math puzzles, and listening to Finnish poetry.

The church in the middle of Jyväskylä, with a statue of a naked woman in front.

The architect Alvar Aalto is very popular in Jyväskylä. This city is where he had his first office and though there are other cities with much more of his influence, Jyväskylä has somehow claimed him and opened a museum. Here's me with some of his chairs.

 Kristof's officemate studies Asian American writers. Here three books I saw on her shelf: "Aiiieeeee!", "The Big Aiiieeeee!", and "Eeeee Eee Eeee". Huh.

A whole shop for Mommin! (Mummitrollet we call them in Norway)

I liked these glass paintings in the Copenhagen airport. Centaurs, Pegasuses and fairies. 

The trip home was brutal. I flew Jyväskylä to Helsinki to Frankfort Germany to Copenhagen Denmark back home to Trondheim. Travel time: 17 hours. Fortunately I had good things to read.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flight to Finland

Today I traveled to Finland, my first time to this country. I love being able to add a new country to my list!

As I reached the gate for the plane to Helsinki, I noticed my flight number: 666. Not only that, but it was flight number 666 to HEL. Nice. Well, how bad could it be?


Then I saw the plane. Looked like a cargo plane from the 50s.
And my view from the window: staring straight at the edge of rapidly spinning blades, ready to turn into death projectiles with the slightest crack.


But I made it to Helsinki just fine, and stepping off the plane I saw these two racks of toys side-by-side, symbolizing everything I know about Finland: Moomin and Angry Birds:


The adventure begins!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting ready for confirmation

Our neighbor has been working on a bunad for her daughter's confirmation. A bunad is a traditional costume of great importance in Norway, worn for special occasions. Many girls receive their bunads at age 14 when they are confirmed. Maggie taking confirmation classes but she won't get a bunad unfortunately. We haven't the skill that Elisabeth has with sewing, and having one made is an expensive endeavor. Confirmation is in the middle of next month, a very big day for Norwegian families. We haven't worked out yet how we'll be celebrating. But there will be cake.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter

We've got about a foot of snow. It just won't stop. I thought Easter was one of the rites of spring, you know, flowers coming up, sunshine, animals coming out of hibernation, that sort of thing.

Pleasant family day today, egg hunt, Easter dinner, and soon we will settle down to watch Hop, an animated movie about the son of the Easter bunny.

The kids have been home all week. I've been going into the office for a few hours most days, a good way to escape the chaos at home and work in quiet in the empty office building. Most of our friends have gone on vacation, but for want of funds we've been having a stay-cation instead. It's been nice, actually, full of music and games.

We have tomorrow off also, and then it will be nice to be back on a schedule.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter prep

Tomorrow is Easter. Today we had a BLAST decorating eggs. Pam found a great deal on a ton of eggs, and we dyed, painted and crayoned them in as many creative ways we could think of. Bunny fever is sweeping the Naylor household.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Black metal wine. And an owl.

We had dinner with our neighbors tonight. Maggie and her friend cooked for us. With dinner we had an unusual wine, Wongraven, named for the leader of a 'popular' black metal group in Norway. Black metal is a style of heavy metal characterized by black magic leanings, unusual that conservative Norway would be its world headquarters. This Wongraven fellow is a wine aficionado and had this wine blended. It's expensive, but surprisingly very good.


Tonight we saw an owl sitting in the tree outside the window, the first time our neighbor has ever seen an owl from the house. Good omen!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Studio

Getting Pam's studio set up. She's almost ready for business. Fun and exciting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pickles!

Stores are about to shut down for the long Easter weekend. Norway is an officially Christian country, so everything closes down around Easter just like at Christmas. We went to IKEA to get a few storage bins, and couldn't resist this 10 liter (~2.5 gallon) can of pickle slices for about $5. What is was doing for sale at IKEA I don't know, but I sure am happy. We'll be eating pickles for weeks!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Taco Krakk

Yeah, I don't even know what to say about this one:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Snow day

After two weeks of glorious warm spring weather, it began snowing on Friday. Today we had spells of blizzardy snow flurries alternating with sunshine. The warm temps gave us a thick padding of the best packing snow, so the whole family went out for snowball fights, rolling down the hill, and building snowmen.

It was a lovely surprise winter play day. And hopefully, the last such day until next winter.