Sunday, September 28, 2014

Songs 11-20

It was so much fun this morning listening to the Top 10 "best" Norwegian songs that we had to listen to the next top 10 as well. I only recognized one song on this list before I began. I've added links to videos of the songs and the year they came out.

11. Kari Bremnes: «Hurtigrute», 2000.
12. ASA: «Rekkene», 1968.
13. Sverre Kjelsberg & Mattis Hætta: «Sámiid ædnan», 1980.
14. Vidar Sandbeck: «Pengegaloppen», 1959.
15. Vårsøg: «Vårsøg», 1977.
16. Jokke & Valentinerne: «Her kommer vinteren», 1991.
17. Ole Paus: «Mitt lille land», 1994.
18. Dr Erik: «Det eneste jeg vil er å ha det fett», 1997.
19. Raga Rockers: «Maskiner i Nirvana», 1985.
20. Inger Lise Andersen: «Fru Johnsen», 1968.

"Vinsjan på Kaia" tops the list of the 20 best songs about Norway

This summer a list came out on the 20 best songs about Norway. This list is here. I only know 3 songs on the list, so I've got some listening to do! Many of these are old songs which sound quite dated and I find difficult to listen to. And some of them I find really great. My personal top 10 list would look entirely different!

Here's the top half of the top 20 list. I've linked videos to them so you can give a listen and see if you like any. We've starred the ones we like best.

1. D.D.E.: «Vinsjan på kaia», 1993   *
2. Alf Prøysen: «Så seile vi på Mjøsa», 1964
3. De Press: «Lars Hertervig», 1981
4. Lillebjørn Nilsen: «Barn av regnbuen», 1973
5. Stein Ove Berg: «Manda‘ morra blues», 2004   *
6. Wenche Myhre: «La meg være ung», 1964
7. Tønes: «Sån av Salve», 2012
8. Ungdomslaget Ny Von: «Sluttsang», 1978  *
9. Karpe Diem: «Påfugl», 2012
10. Åge Aleksandersen: «Fire pils og en pizza», 1994

The top song, Vinsjan på Kaia by D.D.E., is a song I first heard last year when a friend's band played it at a bar in Hommelvik. ( I still love this song. The name of the band, D.D.E., is a homophone for "det det er" in the local dialect, meaning "what it is" as in "it is what it is".

The melancholy song tells of a young man on the dock (kaia) leaving his girlfriend for the summer. He had always dreamed of being a sailor, traveling the world and bringing back gifts for his girlfriend, but now he just has a ticket as a passenger on his way to his aunt's house. And at the end, she ends up with a clerk. I'm not sure if he's the clerk or if it's someone else.

Here's the chorus, with my attempted translation – it's written in dialect which can sometimes be inscrutible. (I welcome edits from my Trøndersk friends!)

"Beatles spællt aldri så vakkert som vinsjan på kaia
Finast parfymen va lukta av olje og sjø
Ingen va deilig som du, den dan æ skull' færra
Begge va altfor blyg te å sei adjø"

"Beatles never played so beautiful as the winch on the dock 
The finest perfume was the smell of the oil and the sea 
None were as lovely as you, the day I left for vacation 
Both were too shy to say goodbye."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anna's first handball game

Anna had her first handball game tonight. Handball is very popular in Norway. Anna joined a team this year. Last weekend they went to a handball camp for two days and she loved it. She's been sick this week and didn't think she'd be able to play in the first match. She went to the game anyways to support her team. One girl is out right now because of a broken arm and another girl injured herself in the first few minutes, so Anna ended up playing most of the game anyways.

It looked like a lot of fun and hard work, and it will be good to see the girls improve over the course of the year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pig presentation

Anna wants a minipig (minigris) and we are a little sceptical. When we buy our "farm" across the fjord it would be ok, but she wants the pig with her in the house when she is not at the farm.

Tonight when I came home Anna sat Pam and I down for a presentation on why we should get a minipig and keep it in the house.

Anna begins the presentation

First, a plan for how she would arrange her room to accommodate a minipig.

A list of "responabilities" she is committed to.
Signed forms from her siblings pledging their support and assistance

A made-up graph comparing strength of owner-pig bond to pigs raised at home vs. pigs raised on a farm. The scale on the left from bottom to top is: ENE (enemy), DIS (dislike), STR (strangers), AQ (acquaintances), FRE (friends), GOF (good friends) and BFF (best friends forever). We can clearly see that the "at home" pig reaches the BFF level in 6 weeks, while the "at farm" pig has only risen to the FRE level during the same time period.
The presentation closed with several pages of cute pig pictures, including pigs playing with a dog.

 I think Anna has a future in marketing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pam's new bathroom

I installed new tinted glass block windows in the toilet room in our house. When I returned from South Korea, Pam surprised me. She had finished the room with tiling she did herself and a new toilet she had arranged herself. Wow! Our house is finally coming together.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I was in Tromsø for three days for a conference. I can finally say "Tromsø" correctly. We came here as a family last year for the reindeer races. I like Tromsø quite a bit.

Here's some pics from the visit:

Through the airport window upon my arrival

Tromsø is at 69°N, loooong into the Arctic circle. We ate 69°N Brasserie – and had excellent food, every course.

This was on the hotel lunch buffet. Love it!

The Hurtigrute stops outside the hotel. This boat is the Trollfjord – the same boat I shall ride next week for another conference.

I was pleased to see this Islamic tiling pattern outside of another hotel in Tromsø. The pattern is made from irregular pentagons assembled into hexagons. The hexagons stretch in two different directions.

Anna's sports

Anna is off to håndball camp this weekend with a big group of girls. We went to XXL last night to buy her her own handball and knee protectors. She is very excited. Especially about the taco dinner they will get tonight.

She also started Kenpo karate three weeks ago and just loves it. The studio is just a 10 minute walk from our house and is very good with kids. She can hit quite hard. I think Anna was born to punch and kick things!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Peter on the rise

Peter's not quite as tall as me. But close. He passed Pam in June. I'm 184 cm, he's now 183,5 at age 14.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hike in Fosen

We took a little day trip across the fjord to Fosen to have a look at Amborneset and go for a hike.  There is many lovely hiking trails all over the place between Vanvikan and Leksvik. I am especially fond of the trail that goes up from Amborneset. It goes through a variety of terrains, mushroomy forest to alien plains to a little bit of rock-climbing to scrubby plateaus. And it even goes by the ruins of a mysterious fortress built by a troll hundreds of years ago, part of the local folklore.

Maggie sits beneath the roots of a fallen tree

Friday, September 12, 2014

Trondheim Modern Art Gallery

This weekend is culture fest in Trondheim and many places are offering shows, concerts, and free admissions. Pam and I explored the downtown offerings a little bit this afternoon.

One surprise: The Trondheim Modern Art gallery, which is combination gallery and store, has a surprisingly large collection. We enjoyed browsing here very much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brain lecture

For Pam's birthday she wanted to go to a public lecture by a French neuro-researcher Stanislas Dehaene. It was a fascinating lecture about their research with how learning reading and math affect neural pathways, and what it can tell us about teaching reading and math.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trip to Stjordal

Steve and Indy and I went on a sightseeing trip out near Stjordal today. First we made the obligatory stop at the Hell train station to get a picture of the sign "HELL – GODS EXPEDITION". Then to the Hegra fortress, which I've been to many times and is still so very awesome. Afterwards to view the largest collection of Bronze Age viking runes at Leirfall. Then to see the medieval DaVinci inspired fortress at Steinvikholmen. And finally to do some shopping and have lattes in downtown Stjordal.

A little bit rainy today, but a wonderful excursion nonetheless.

Hegra festning – awesome outside and in

A war memorial art installation inside Hegra festning

Viking runes cover this stone face at Leirfall

Exploring around the fortress at Steinvikholmen

It's jellyfish season

Indy swam and swam and swam!
The approach to Steinvikholmen. The fortress in on a island in the senter.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Exploring caves

Trondheim has a lot of tunnels. Some were dug through the rock during the Nazi occupation from 1940-1945.

Steve and I went to explore some of the caves up over Ila. If you want to find these, park at the hairpin curve on Roald Asmundsens vei. Bring a flashlight.

Watch for this gate across the trail entrance.
There are two or three entrances to the tunnels.
Bring candles, or use your iPhone flashlight as we did. It is pitch black inside.

Strange rooms with strange graffiti. The tunnels are not too expansive with just enough intersections to be interesting without being scary.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Infinity 2014

Every year for the past 14 years I've met the same group of friends for a personal conference. We give academic talks for each on mathematics, neurology, cancer research, information technology, and whatever. Our talks are quirky but scientific.

This year the group came to Norway, the second time they've come here. We had the conference at a viking camp across the fjord. I had bought viking throwing axes and honey mead ahead of time to ensure an authentic experience.

The viking are in the van and ready to depart for parts unknown

Axe throwing!

Steve managed to score a direct hit – on his own camera!

A bottle of vodka infused with a... hagfish?

Grillin' like a villain
I was the jarl. Roar!
A hike up the Ås. Here's Amborneset from above.

The ruins of a troll fortress, part of the local folklore.

At the top is an area for relaxing. We grilled.
Hotdog man!

Finally, here's Steve's axe-throwing video, complete with footage of the axe hitting the camera. Oh, so awesome!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Korsvika and Dora 2

My friend Steve arrived yesterday from the U.S. More friends are coming this weeked. We went out today for some grillin' and chillin' at Korsvika in Lade. This is the site where Leif Erikson moored his boats before setting out to discover America. It is also the site of the home of Håkon and Kark from a famous Norwegian saga. It is a section of Norway rich in history.

Gorgeous day today. Here's some pics.

Peter, Brage and Maggie
The view to the left

The view to the right. Plus a dog.

Mysterious piano on a cliff.

Mysterious man kneeling by mysterious piano on mysterious cliff.
Maggie so engrossed in writing that she doesn't notice Peter has given her a hat made from a burnt out box.

At Dora 2 we found a big pile of giant tires!

Nothing could go wrong here.