Aug 16, 2002

Miss me?

Yesterday I spent a while troubleshooting my boss's computer. Then I simply had work to do. Have hardly been home with my computer there these last few days. Been busy visiting my grandma in the hospital and taking care of things for her.

I like the bus ride to the hospital. The bus takes me through Bergen's more exclusive part of town, Kalfaret. A tree-lined street with old gardens leads to a view of the city from the south. Kalfaret is old homes, old money, mansions, style, times gone by, a breather in a modern, efficient, right-angled life. I usually don't have any business in that part of town so I'm enjoying the sightseeing.

There have been some tourists on the bus, too, because the hospital is right next to a tourist attraction: The lower station of Ulriksbanen, a cable car that takes you to the top of Bergen's highest mountain, Ulriken.

Aug 14, 2002

Har nettopp hatt en interessant prat med en kollega bosatt i Laksevåg om nedbørsmønstre i Bergen (finn frem et kart hvis du ikke er lokalkjent). Laksevåg ligger i en "solgate". Lyderhorn sørger for at det regner i Loddefjord, og ellers går alle skyene inn til byfjellene. Dermed går også Nordnes klar, mens Landås får skyllebøtter. Verstingen er dog Sandviken, som får hele 1200 mm mer nedbør pr år enn hva Nordnes gjør!

En kronikk om vestlandsværet og hvorfor klimaet i Bergen er som det er, finner du på Jeg har dessverre ikke klart å finne artikkelen om forskjellene mellom bydelene. Ikke ennå.

Aug 13, 2002

Stuff I've learned this past week:

  • Breaking or fracturing a bone hurts also because you injure the protective sheath around the bone.
  • The aurora borealis is a year-round phenomenon, but you can't see it during the summer in the land(s) of the midnight sun because it's not dark enough.
  • Cats can't retract the claws on their rear paws.
  • Within 10 hours of travel in any direction in England, you'll fall off.
  • If you're irritated, remove the irritant or accept it. Yelling doesn't help.
  • No one's ever made booze out of reindeer milk before in Norway, but now they're going to try.
  • Good quality make-up goes on easily and comes off easily.
  • To keep mosquitos away, set up a fan and blow 'em off.
  • Four friends, four rakes and one empty, plastic soda bottle = a good game of lawn-hockey.
  • If you hit CTRL-Z in the Windows version of Internet Explorer, you go right back to your homepage and lose everything you typed in your blog...

Aug 12, 2002

So I was telling a Norwegian friend about my blogging, using the verb "blog" without translating it, just giving it a Norwegian flare: "blogge". Whereupon my friend could inform me that "blogge" actually means something in Norwegian. He quoted the dictionary:
"blogge v1 (norr bloðga, av *blod) skjære, stikke fisk slik at blodet renner ut, jf *bløgge."
It basically means to cut (the main artery of) a fish so the blood runs out, the first step in cleaning a fish. The root of "blogge" is Old Norse blood.

PS: The funny d above (ð) is the Icelandic letter "eth", also used in Old Norse. If you need to find HTML-code for funny letters, try here:

Aug 11, 2002

Yesterday Mars was exactly conjunct the Sun. Yes, this is astrology again. Mars rules all sorts of things: Sex, will, play, blood, accidents. Someone with Sun conjunct Mars in their birth chart may be very ambitious and even hot-headed. ("Conjunct" means together. Exact means one was sitting in the other's lap, not just side by side.) The accident part hit my grandmother. She fell yesterday and broke an arm. She said she wasn't thinking. That's both Mars and Sun: Impulsive, rash.

For those of you who know a lot more astrology, at the time of my grandmother's accident, Sun/Mars were semi-square both Ascendant and MC. Leo falls in my grandmother's solar 12th house and she is hospitalized. Also, the Moon (people, women) was applying to a square to Saturn (bones, confinement).

What I wrote yesterday applies to Norwegians, too. Or basically anything you don't know anything about. What made me think of it was a documentary about herring research in Norway, and the commentator called one Norwegian was called "Oyshtine" (at which point I yelled, "We're not Germans!") and another "Leef". You'd think that whoever was doing the documentary knew the names of the people they worked with. "Øystein" is pronounced sort of like Oystine, and "Leif" is pronounced Layf. If you're going to use names like that in your story, know at least how their owner would pronounce it.

Aug 10, 2002

I read the novel "The President's Astrologer" by Barbara Shafferman. It was a satisfying read, also astrologically, which isn't easy to pull off in fiction.

Books and stories that involve astrology usually don't do well. Unless you want to explain a lot to the reader, you can't include a lot of astrology. And if you do start doing "chart interpretation" in your story, unless you're skilled in astrology yourself, you may make mistakes that irritate any astrology-savvy readers. (And those are the ones who will read your astrology-laced story, aren't they.) You have to proceed with caution.

Shafferman shows the astrological charts of her president and vice-president in her book. I noted that the chart of the vice-president didn't match the description of the V.P. It added extra suspense to the story for me and, as it turned out, that chart did provide an essential clue. That's why it was satisfying astrology. :-)

Aug 9, 2002

Just came across this: "Old enough to know better, but too young to resist." Yep, that fits!

A friend has fallen into the classic trap: She's down because her boyfriend hasn't called (guys – CALL!) and is reading about his Sun sign, focusing only on the negative. That sort of focus is one trap and not limited to astrology. The other is in thinking that astrology is only about Sun sign.

Your Sun sign is your core self, but is modified by the rest of your chart which involves other planets besides the Sun and other signs besides the one your Sun is in. Sort of like having a bunch of houses, all with matching foundations, but each house and its yard is different. That's why you will never be exactly like someone else with the same Sun sign as you.

Got myself distracted, didn't I. Am planning a trip to York, England, and then on to Paris, France. That's a good distraction, isn't it. :-)

Am travelling with an American who didn't want to see cities. I think it's because she's seen only US cities. Cities in Europe, no matter the country, are always more exotic than cities in the US. The buildings are older, all the street signs are different from American ones, and the streets are hardly ever straight. The city centers are usually very compact and easy to get around in on foot. It's like European cities are founded around a town square, while American ones are founded around a road.

Aug 7, 2002

While looking for something else, I came across this little tidbit about toothpaste: The abrasive used in commercial toothpaste, hydrated silica, is actually crushed opal.

I like opals. I think they are one of the loveliest gems around. I love the play of colors they have. See

I like the idea of having crushed ones in my mouth.

Aug 6, 2002

I'm at work. It would be nice to have something to be completely immersed in but it's a rather slow day. I keep looking out the window. The weather outside is outright terrific! Right now 22C/72F in the shade and blue skies.

Current weather report for Norway: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute. For my province: Hordaland. Who wants to be stuck in an office?

Sunshine, gentle breeze... I think I will just leave.

Whoops! My co-worker beat me to it. He just left with the cheerful parting, "It's too lovely to stay here." Somebody has to man the place until official closing time (3:35 pm) and that somebody is now me. Well, it's only for another half hour.

Aug 5, 2002

Well, it's back to work after my summer vacation. After work today, I sat out on the balcony and listened to a neighbor's child cry and cry and cry. The sound of the crying suggested that the kid was unhappy or angry, not hurt. In between, I could hear the child speak. "Ah, the Terrible Twos," I thought. When the child starts to assert its will. That corresponds with the first of what astrologers call the Mars Return.

A "return" is when a planet returns to the same place it started from in a horoscope. It's one turn of a wheel. A return starts a new cycle for that planet in your horoscope. Mars' cycle (orbit, actually) is about 22 months long. So approximately 22 months after you're born, Mars returns to the same spot in its orbit it was on the day of your birth. A Mars Return.

Since Mars is the planet of will, assertiveness and aggression, you can see why it fits with the time in a young child's life when it first realizes it may want something its parents won't let it have: So how to get around that – successfully, without losing the parents' love? Mars is: How do you assert yourself and how do you react to others doing the same?

Aug 3, 2002

Curious about what Google would look like on acid? If you have Flash, here's a different way to view your search results: It looks like mind-mapping. At least it's not just another list! :-)

More info on the end of the world, according to the Mayan calender. This is from an outfit called New Heaven, New Earth:

(News Brief 48, Friday, February 14, 1997)

Some New Age Millennialists are claiming that the world will end in 2012 because they are under the impression that the ancient Mayan Calendar signals the end to the fourth creation of the cosmos at that time. What they don't realize is that archeologists have now deciphered Mayan texts showing that on the crucial date, the universal order will be reinforced, not destroyed. According to Linda Schele, a Mayan expert at the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS at Austin, the Mayan calendar actually extends well into the 50th Century. (JG)

I'm also told that this time also corresponds with the ending of a kaliyuga, a 26,000 year Hindu "age". This is also known in the West as a Platonic year.