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Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Well bing bong diddly dong, it's New Year's Eve! Time to make some ridicolously overambitious resolutions! I have two for 2012, and I intend to keep them. Here they are:


1. I WILL NOT BUY ANY CLOTHES IN 2012

Photo from here, stencil by ConsumeHastaMorir

Explanation:
I live in a society where consumption is not limited to food but also includes all other commodities, luxuries and indulgences known to man. In Norway it is not uncommon to find perfectly functioning flat-screen tvs on the skip, because their owners bought new, bigger ones. Or you might find a one year old sofa at the thrift store, simply because someone grew tired of it and wanted a new one. Or the lost/found objects box at the pub grows fuller and fuller because whoever owns the forgotten scarves and gloves can't be bothered to collect them. Only we don't think too often about the people who make all our things, and what conditions they live in. I won't go into detail about that, you can just go here instead to see how many slaves you have working for you. I have 58.

I am one of those people who buy clothes mainly because they are cheap. It goes something like this:
Me: "I need a new pair of jeans, because the old ones are worn out/don't fit me". Then I go to the shop. "Man, jeans are expensive. I'll have to think about it for a while. Maybe I can use my old ones a little longer." Then I pass by the sales rack. "Ooo, look at this jumper! It's quite nice! And it's 30% off. I'll get it." Then I buy a jumper I don't really need, instead of the pair of jeans I actually need, and if I'd just saved the money from those 5 tops that were cheap, I would have had enough money for those jeans anyway.

So basically I want to jump-start my common shopping-sense, learn to make do with what I have (which is, I should say, a modest amount of clothes, at least in these parts of the world), redesigning old things and saving some money on top of it all.

Exceptions:
*Clothes for my son. This is obvious. He is 9 months, he needs new clothes on a regular basis.
*One pair of spring/summer shoes. I have a single pair of trainers. That's IT. I kid you not. I bought them in New York in 2008.
*One pair of autumn/winter shoes. This is not strictly necessairy, but I only have hiking boots to use in the winter. So I will only buy these if I find a pair I really like.
*Necessairy underwear. I've stocked up but you never know.


2. I WILL NOT BUY SWEETS/CANDY IN 2012

Photo by Blaine Kendall, from here

Explanation:
Well. Do you really need one? I want to get healthier. Sweets/candy includes soda pops, crisps/chips, cakes, biscuits and so on. I'll become a fruit freak. High on life and caffeine.

Exceptions:
*Did you see what I did in the headline up there? I said "buy". Not "eat". There is a good reason for this. I will not buy sweets myself, neither will my husband (at least so he says). But if I go to visit someone and they offer me cake/chocolate/biscuits etc, I want to be able to accept. But I won't throw myself at the bowl and wolf it down, either.
*17th of May (Norway day). Oh, come on! It's the one day of the year where eating as much ice cream as you can without vomiting is practically mandatory.
*Birthdays. CAKE!
*Hallowe'en. Because the neighbourhood kids shouldn't have to dress up for nothing.
*Christmas and Easter. But in moderation.
*Stuff I make myself. Which will eliminate most of my sweet-consumption, which is often spontaneous and due to low blood sugar. Baking takes too long to be spontaneous.



So there you have it! There's only seven hours left of 2011, the greatest year of my life so far, and 2012 will be even better! Happy New Year!

Mystery Revealed

... so it wasn't some exciting futuristic gadget or amazing secret of the universe in that mystery present. It was this:

This is a children's book that my husband loved when he was little, "Hanen Hasses frierferd". So it is in fact a present from the future AND the past.


A lovely present for Sune, though rather anticlimactic for someone with an as vivid imagination as me.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Magical Mystery Letter

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today, my husband and I recieved this letter:

 Not very interesting at first glance. But really, this letter is RIDDLED with mysteries. Firstly, that there was no return address. I have no idea who sent it.


Second, inside was a christmas present with no tag on it. Just a flat object in wrapping paper, no ribbon, no knowing who it's for (though it's pretty safe to suppose it's for me and/or my husband) or, again, who it's from.



But the true mystery lies in this small detail:


 There. Do you see it yet? No? It says "23 DES 2011".


Today is the 21st. 

I have recieved a LETTER FROM THE FUTURE.















I can only assume that I, in the next couple of days, will be contacted by space/time continuum scientists who need someone to test their new time machine, and have in fact sent this letter TO MYSELF backwards in time. I can't wait to open in on christmas eve to see what I've given myself! Aww, thanks, me! You shouldn't have!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Suddenly: Gingerbread!

I haven't blogged in ages. But I made this gingerbread house! That's almost the same thing. Sort of like 3D-blogging. In a very far-fetched way.




Measures 9x12x13 cm. Happy holidays!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

NaNoWriMo WINNER!






YES!

I made it! And may I say, not too modestly, it was easier than I anticipated ... that said, my novel is of course a load of tosh, but now that I've put most of the story down in words I can start from scratch and revise the whole thing. I can't wait!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

50k BOOM!

I made it! 50 000 words! In 22 days! Woot!


Friday, 18 November 2011

Team Meh

There's nothing for it. The time has come.
It's time to talk about Twilight.

Robert Pattinson is much creapier in real life.
Photo from here

Right about now, at six o'clock in the evening on the 18th of November 2011, millions of Twihard fans all over the world are in the movie theaters to see Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Some are perhaps already going for the second time, what do I know. Also, right about now, at six o'clock in the evening on the 18th of November 2011, millions of die-hard Twilight haters share a savage pleasure of taking as much mickey out of Twilight as possible via a selection of online social media.

Let's look at these two fractions separately. We'll do the haters first.

A prime example of a well thought-through fail poster. Not repetitive at all.
Photo from here

Online, there seems to be a sort of ongoing competition of who hates Twilight the most. Whether it's by making fun of the books, saying they're badly written, that Edward is a pussy for still being a virgin after 108 or so years, or how Stephenie Meyer has violated the Pure and Holy image of The Vampire by explaining the many myths behind them in a new way. Or making fun of the movies, of how bad Kristen Stewart's acting is, how Taylor Lautner's shirtlessness is hilariously over the top or that the only good thing about them is Charlie Swan's moustache.

Now, for the average internet user who good-humouredly caption the odd movie still from Twilight on Failblog, that's okay. The real problems arise when the same type of ridicule appears on arenas that usually keep a higher level of seriousness and quality, like newspapers. Even the movie reviewers in such media (albeit still online) seem to write their pieces under a mandatory understanding that "this movie sucks, but I have to write about it anyway, so let's get it over with". Example quote from www.pressfire.no, from an article written by Martin Bergesen (translated from Norwegian by me):

"The only explanation for there not being a "Twilight"-game must be that Stephenie Meyer and the other demons behind "Twilight" are too distracted by raking bills in their money-garden to notice all the millions they're missing out on by not whoring out their sparkle-vampires to a games company."
(Here's the article)

I mean, seriously? Demons? Whoring? That's a bit harsh. Not just a bit, either. It's really harsh. And full of speculative prejudice, too. These reviewers are people who know their job, and they get paid to do it. To sink that level of ridicule is just unprofessional.

Alright, on to the lovers.

Don't feed them after midnight.
Photo from here

 They are, of course, equally one-track-minded. They find the books amazing, groundbreaking, life-changing. They plaster their walls with posters of a brooding Robert Pattinson or a flexing Taylor Lautner, or both. They place themselves in either "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob", fiercly defend their chosen hero on online message boards, and probably take long walks in the forests of Washington in the hopes of catching a glimpse of something sparkly. Or hairy. Or both.

This, of course, is obsession. And when you're obsessed, you tolerate no critique of your chosen object of desire, much like how a drug addict will get really angry if you take his drugs away. Seriously. I've been an obsessed teenager myself, I know how you completely lose your sense of logic.

The Twilight books are in the genre "Young Adult", which means the target group are young people between 13 and 19. Teenagers. In this case, girls. And there are many of those out there. Hoards. Sort of like zombies. Only they don't want brains, they want the pants off Robert Pattinson. Or Taylor Lautner. Or both. At the same time.

And for some reason, teenage girls are one of the generic groups of people (regardless of nationality, skin colour or religion) that most people fail to take seriously. If you made characters out of the human age groups, teenage girls would be the Dumb Blonde. Of course, teenage girls in general feel that they're much more mature and experienced in life than what their age suggests, and that their feelings are pure, sincere and not in the least affected by all the hormones currently zooming around in their bodies. Which can cause seventeen-year-olds to think that the crush they have on that pale, mysterious boy in the corner of the canteen is True Love and will Last Forever, when really they get a new crush two weeks later. All hail to Stephenie Meyer and her fellow Young Adult authors for finding this age group important, really.

My point here is that I believe many of the reviewers that heartily dismember the Twilight movies (or books) and then chop them up in little pieces with their metaphorical machete (read: keyboard) completely fail to consider the target group. Or if they do, they use it as an additional reason for why the movie is beneath them. "This is a movie for teenage girls, so automatically it sucks." And particularly because it's Twilight, that is all right. And when the reviewer is a 37 year old man (or whatever), and the movie's target group is a 16 year old girl, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

What I would really like to read is a Twilight review written by someone trying to see the movie from the target group's viewpoint. 

I bet you're just dying to know what I feel about Twilight now, right? I also bet that if you're a hater, you think I'm a Twihard, and if you're a Twihard, you think I'm a hater, right?

Wrong.


I'm neither. I'm part of what I'd like to coin as "Team Meh". I've read the books. They were entertaining. In the same way that The Da Vinci Code was entertaining. Both not excellently written, but both pageturners, and both worth the read. I've seen the two first films. They were all right. I've seen much better, of course. But I've certainly seen much, MUCH worse.  
(Like La Dolce Vita. I nearly died from boredom. That's a story for later.)

I've also made fun of Twilight. I made a comic about it once, but a good-natured one, as my target group for that particular comic is 8-15-year-olds.

But I genuinely don't understand the epic proportions the Twihating has taken. People who haven't even read the books or seen the movies are practically frolicking in the garden of Twihate, repeating the old jokes over and over. I certainly don't think it's appropriate to bring all that hate into professional movie reviews. Sure, write a review about how bad the films are, but make it balanced and fair. Write in a way that makes me think you're an educated person who knows quality in films, rather than a person who spends most work days scrolling around Failblog.













(To Martin Bergesen, if you should by any chance read this - nothing personal. Don't hate me. Just ... be reasonable. You would hate Stephenie Meyer and the other "demons" if they really HAD sold the game concept, so there really is no reason to hate them for NOT doing it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, right? I did laugh out loud at the video examples at the bottom of your article though. But the text in general was a tad over the top.)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Letter From Einstein

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind."

-Albert Einstein

Original found here: Letters Of Note

Monday, 7 November 2011

Secret Knowledge

Right, so thanks to NaNoWriMo, I've been a writer for one week now. Last night I even had a whisky as I wrote and felt very authorish. Even though I only drank whisky in the hopes of nipping my cold in the bud. It didn't work.

So, as I've become a writer (with a cold) now, obviously I have gained that deep, secret and archaic knowledge only accessible to the wise and sensitive, and I'm going to share that knowledge with you now.

Are you ready?

Here it is:









WRITING IS FUN! YEAH!









Thank you.

Friday, 4 November 2011

And This!!

It's even better!


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Watch These.

It's good for you.



Monday, 31 October 2011

OBEY THE LAW

Imagine for a second that you're a road construction worker. You build roads all day, all year, in all kinds of weather. Most likely the road you're working on was already there and you're just trying to make it bigger and better. You're surrounded by heavy machinery, cones and traffic. So you probably wouldn't want cars speeding past you at 80 km/h, would you? No? Good.



So WHY GOD WHY do some people still speed past road construction workers at 80 km/h?!



This goes out to YOU, owner of a black Citröen C4 from Notodden Bil & Speed Shop AS with registration number NV 53036, you and all your brainless speed-head buddies, guess what, when the signs on each side of the road says "40", this DOES NOT MEAN you get to add them together and drive in 80, okay? See, there's a REASON that sign says 40, and that's because OPEN YOUR EYES MAN there are road construction workers and pedestrians all over the place and YES the road is wide and new and nice and the tarmac is flawless and everything, but it STILL does NOT mean you get to drive in 80 because it's the speed sign that decides how fast you get to drive, not your subjective opinion of the road quality.

And yes, said owner of said Citröen, I might have flipped one of your fellow speeders the bird once when I was sick and tired of people overtaking me when I dutifully kept driving at 40 like the sign told me to, but even if I resorted to a childish act, he should not have answered by throwing his car in front of mine and braking hard so that I almost hit him, because not only was that equally childish, it was also DANGEROUS.

You need a better reason to drive within the speed limit?

Because.
It's.
The.
LAW.






OBEY.





To clarify: The reason I know so much about that Citröen is not that I drove as fast as him after he whizzed past me, but that after a few hundred metres he had to stop in line for temporary road lights because of the road works, and I was the next car in line. Yeah man, that's right, you saved NO TIME, NONE, by overtaking me. Numbskull.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

NaNoWriMo Countdown

I'm doing this this year!

Yahey! Oh, god, what have I gotten myself into! If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, basically it's a challenge to write a 50.000 word novel in one month. That month being November. So, in little over a week I'm going to start typing like mad whenever my baby boy is sleeping, so if you come visit just excuse the layers of dust and puddles of baby dribble everywhere cause I won't have time to clean.

I'm not an aspiring author if you wondered, it's just that I have some ideas for my epic comic novel that I want to toss around. Also, you know, writing a book would definitely be on my "things to do before I die"-list, if I had one.

But hey, who's with me? I'll try to update my blog every once in a while as well.


Friday, 21 October 2011

No Man's Land

You know what scares me? Virtual landscapes.



They are CREEPY. Flight simulations, computer games, even Google Earth freaks me out. I believe there is a very specific incident that triggered this fear in me. So settle down, children, it's story time.

 I love the caps lock-button on this.
Photo from here

It was the eighties, and my crafty brothers had recently aquired the must-have object of the century: the Commodore 64. It was sleek, shiny (in a metaphorical sense at least) and could entertain two pre-teen boys for hours with cutting-edge graphics and thrilling car games. Who can forget Spy Hunter or The Last Ninja? What better way to kill an hour than by doing a few levels of Mr. Robot or Jumpman Jr? Or a full Saturday Summer Games II tournament with the neighbourhood kids?


I mean, there were two buttons on that joystick, the possibilities were endless!
Photo from here
 
But neither one of these games scared me at the time (apart from The Last Ninja: those eyes in the intro screen could frighten anyone), and I have no trouble playing any of them now if I am so inclined. No, it was a different game that made the hair on my back stand on end. A small, obscure game no one really remembers. Apart from me. And a very few others. So few, in fact, that I spent a whole half hour searching for it on the Google, and we all know that a search session of such epic proportions means that whatever you're looking for is very, very obscure indeed. 

But I found it. Here it is. Watch this video. If you dare.




Wow.

What, were you scared of being bored to death, you ask? 
I know, it's dull, monochrome, ugly, slow (was it really that slow?) and annoying. But picture me as an impressionable six-year-old playing this game, that eerie rendition of Greensleeves playing softly in the background, those green walls enclosing me, that oh so black and empty sky above. And then I get lost in the maze. I have forgotten which button to press to get help. I start to panic. I move about more and more randomly. I see a black square and aim for it. Maybe I found the way out! Oh but no. Nooo. Nooo! An empty, black abyss lies before me. With the scariest message I have ever seen:













Yeah! I know! Freaky, right? This experience was sufficiently significant for me to result in that whenever I want to check a map online to see, for instance, how I get from A to B in a car and have to zoom in to see small details, I keep my eyes half closed in case I somehow end up BELOW the map surface and plunge into No Man's Land again. It's like those robots you see that are very human-like, but not quite. Nothing is more scary than that not-quite-ness.

Wild horses couldn't drag me onto the Holodeck on the Starship Enterprise. Unless they paid me. A lot. And gave me free therapy sessions afterwards.





(By the way: I couldn't find a screenshot of the No Man's Land image up there, so I made it myself in Photoshop. You can download the Commodore 64 font for free, who knew!)

(By the way 2: my cat is sitting in front of her food bowl right now, looking like that guy in the corner at the end of The Blair Witch Project, weird)


























Boo!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Transform! Squee! Kaboom!

Just sharing some gifs today. They're pretty awesome. Enjoy!




Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Employees Are People Too

I love flowers.

And I'm not saying that just to hint heavily to my husband to buy me more of them, because I'm perfectly capable of buying them myself, only I rarely do. Because there is something rather pointless about a boquet of flowers, no matter how pretty it is and how much it pleases me to have one on my living room table. Because, well, they're expensive, they don't actually do anything apart from looking pretty, and they die rather quickly. This stems (flower pun!) from my opinion that there shouldn't be anything in my house that doesnt have some function, even if that's secondary (which is the case of many of my pretty boxes which I attained primarily because they were pretty, and then I justified that by saying look, I can put things in them).

So maybe that was part of the reason why I didn't pursue the flower arranging carreer path. Plus, I like to look at things I've made even years after I made them, so perishable art was sort of redundant. But an equally important reason for me not wanting to be a flower arranger was that I don't really like customers.



---




Whoah, whoah! Take a pause there before you think "what?! But I've been/am/plan to be a customer of hers, how dare she!!" because of course this does NOT mean ALL customers! Let me explain.

In retail, there's a rule that says that if the customer has one bad experience in your shop, he or she needs ten good experiences to weigh up for that. Which means a lot of ass-licking, let me tell you. But the same goes for shop employees. If I'd had a day full of nice customers, I was content and pleased. But if I'd had a day in which there were 99 nice customers and one bad one, my day was ruined, and I'd be angry about that for days afterwards. See? Goes both ways. Check out this website to get an idea of what sort of weird customers there really are out there.

Remember: even if the employee smiles and nods understandingly while you whine and complain, this is how he or she feels on the inside
Photo from here


When I opted out of the flower carreer, I was a little worried that I'd wasted a whole year and quite a lot of money on an education I'd never get any use for, but then I got a part-time job in a gardening center where I became somewhat of an expert on indoor plants and cut flowers, and I got to drive the forklift truck seeing as I've got a forklift driver's licence (yes! I do!). I worked there for a couple of years, and I had lovely colleagues and I got to faff about with plants and flowers as much as I liked, only trouble was customers.

"We love gender stereotypes in our stock photos!"
Photo from here

I remember two older ladies coming to complain about some plants they'd bought, but brought with them neither the plants themselves nor the receipt for them, so there really was no evidence of them buying anything whatsoever from us - yet they got mad at me for not "trusting my customers".

Also, people could yell at me about the number of snails in the outdoor plants section, and I patiently had to explain that of course the snails preferred our gardening center to the neighbouring area (such as the car park), seeing as there were, well, PLANTS there, and that we constantly removed (i.e. killed) snails whenever we saw them.

Or the classic "this plant is much cheaper because I found it on the table over there and the price there is lower", disregarding that the plant was obviously misplaced by another customer and looked nothing like the rest of the plants on that table.

Or, you know, customers disregarding the flower care advice we gave them and carried unprotected exotic flowers home outside in below zero temperatures and then complaining that they died. The flowers, I mean.

Not only did Jack Nicholson forget to wrap up his orchids in tissue paper, he also forgot to put on a hat and gloves, silly
Photo from here


I have many, many examples.

So my advice is that yes, of course the employee should be nice and polite and do everything in their power to make you happy, but sometimes YOU ARE NOT RIGHT and employees are people too so be polite back.

Thank you for your attention.







Later I'm going to tell you about my fun year in a toy shop, in which I got to decorate a Hallowe'en display window and wrap up many interesting things that defied the natural laws of wrapping paper that resulted in birthday presents that possibly made small changes in the space/time continuum by their very existence.


Have an interesting customer - employee story to share? Do so in the comments!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Idea That Got Away

I pride myself on having a rather good memory. So much so that I once volunteered for a medical experiment involving hours of memory tests and something about my genes, just for fun. And anyone who's ever played Trivial Pursuit with me knows I store a great deal of pointless knowledge in my head. (And I once memorized the entire mandatory reading material for a uni class on premodern visual rhetorics, using ancient Greek Ars Memoria techniques that we learned during that class ohgodI'msuchageek)

On the other hand, I'm also a big fan of lists. Even for things I do regularly, like packing a bag to go stay the night with friends, I have to make a big list to make sure I don't forget things. I also take great care to make shopping lists, monthly work-lists, chore lists and what-to-have-for-dinner-this-week-lists. (You should have seen the list I made for our wedding. It was awe-inspiring)

So why, oh WHY, don't I make lists of ideas for my comics?!

Sure, I do have a system for writing them down in manuscript fashion, panel by panel and descriptions of dialogue and characters. But that's when I'm actually AT work and sitting by my computer, but we all know that ideas for things don't necessarily pop up at convenient times when you are at your leisure and happen to have a PC nearby. Ohnono.

The other day I had a GREAT idea for a comic. Really GREAT. It had flare, it had zing, it had that little je-ne-sais-pas. It came to my mind when I was getting out of bed in the morning, and my baby was in dire need of a new diaper, and it wasn't as if I was going to write it in poop on the mirror or whatever, so I thought to myself "I've got a brilliant memory! I'll remember this for sure", so naturally I forgot it. That great idea. Gone.


This song says it all.


It's been bugging me ever since, but there's nothing I can do about it - by trying to remember it, I forget it even more, which sounds weird, but that's how it works. I just have to wait for it to pop right back into my brain. And from now on, I'll have pen and paper handy wherever I go. I usually do, but seriously I didn't think I'd need it by the changing table. If you, the reader, have some magical techniques to retrieving memories without having to undergo hypnosis or whatever, FEEL VERY FREE to share them in the comments.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

How Babies Are Better Than Computers

I don't have a TV.

I know, right? Sounds weird, but I don't. In Norway, it costs quite a lot of money each year to own a TV, and as there's usually nothing on anyway, my husband and I figured we'd just throw it out and spend our time more wisely. You know, pursue healthy hobbies, take long walks in the forest with our dog, keep the house nice and tidy, those sort of things. We didn't quite consider our own ability to find other stupid things to fill all that time with. Meaning that instead of mindlessly staring at a TV, we're now mindlessly surfing round the internet on our laptops instead.

 "This is SO going on my Facebook profile"
 Photo from here

The first time I went online was at primary school when I was about thirteen years old. I can remember staring around the web browser trying to figure out how to get from one web page to another, but by the time it took to enter a web address and waiting for it to load, the bell rang and class was over.

In high school I became quite proficient at computers, when our teacher Andrew ("you won't make any money on the planet Mars!") patiently talked us through using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on fresh new 1998 Apple iMacs. The internet speed had picked up, and I spent innumerable breaks and free periods glued to the screen of one of those juicy, colorful little things. I got my very own Hotmail address. I spent hours at the Smashing Pumpkins message boards (one, I was a huge fan, and two, Facebook hadn't been invented yet. I am THAT old). Then, in Uni, I taught myself how to use Dreamweaver, signed up for free internet domains and set up my own websites. When my mum bought a computer, I set it up for her, thereby forever cementing my role as eternal computer techie for my less-than-technologically-gifted mother.

 Look, complimentary colors! And warm-cold contrast as well! Told you I'm an artist.
Pictures from here and here, Photoshopped together by me LIKE A BOSS

I bought my very own computer, a laptop, in the summer of 2006. Later that year, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) got himself a desktop computer. In 2009, I won a scholarship and bought another desktop computer with Adobe Photoshop and one of these beauties. And finally, as a reward for squeezing out a baby earlier this year, my husband bought me ANOTHER laptop. Which I then equipped with a Wacom Bamboo and Photoshop Elements.

Lost count yet? I also have my brother's Commodore 64 lying about in the attic somewhere. And a few spare keyboards and things. I spend A LOT of time on computers every day. Mostly for work, but in the evenings as well. I am beginning to see a small hitch here, though.

Remember me mentioning that baby that I squeezed out? Well, he's going to grow bigger. And move about. And grab things. And destroy them. My computers. Oh. My. God.

Not that I love computers more than I love my baby! Oh no. I mean, sure, there are many similarities between my baby and my computer, such as the fact that they cost a lot of money to maintain and upgrade. Also, they can both catch viruses. And they both need recharging and sometimes crash for no apparent reason. However, where you consciously have to feed your computer new programs and updates and put more memory cards into it to make it smarter, the baby will do that all by itself. And come on, my computer cost, what, 5-6000 Norwegian monies to buy, but my baby was FOR FREE! Sure, computers don't drool on your sholder or poop all over the changing table, but no number of videos of laughing babies on YouTube can compete with the full 3D experience of seeing (and hearing) one live.


A real baby has way higher resolution than this

Also, you can personalize your computer as much as you like, with programs, add-ons, applications, skins, alert sound settings, fonts and even different colors on the hardware or a sweet bag to keep it in, but your computer will never, ever look like you. Nothing is more special edition, one-off, hand numbered, custom made and unique than your own baby. If it wasn't frowned upon by the general public, I'd sign mine. "Made by Jorunn Hanto-Haugse, 2011". Right there on his georgeous pink little belly.



Monday, 3 October 2011

How I Learned To Drink Coffee

Remember when I said this?



It's later now. So here's the story of how I learned to drink coffee. It took me a whole bloody summer.

In my family, lots of things happen the year you turn fifteen. You enter the ranks of the grown-ups. Which means no more Christmas presents from your aunts and uncles. You get your very own national costume, silver bling and all. At the annual sheep-head party, you're allowed to taste alcohol.
(Unless you end up in the kitchen with my cousin (who shall remain nameless for his protecion), in which case you'll not only taste alcohol, you'll swim in it)

 Sheep heads. Look, they're kissing. How sweet.
Photo from here

And you're expected to start drinking coffee.

Seriously. If you don't, prepare for a life where, every time you socialize with any of them, the following conversation will take place:

Relative: Do you like sugar or milk in your coffee?
You: Um, actually, I'm not really a ... coffee ... drinker ...
Relative: *double take* Oh! What? Really?
You: Yeah, I'm more of a tea person. [You shrug disarmingly and put on a sheepish grin to admit you're a lesser person]
Relative: Well, I say! It's about time you learned to drink it though, isn't it? [Laughs in a way that makes you understand that being older than twenty and not drinking coffee is like being fifteen and still playing with your barbie dolls]
You: Ha ha, yeah, I guess.
Relative: Well, what kind of tea would you like then? I've got Yellow Lipton and I think maybe some mother's milk tea somewhere ...

 Mother's milk tea: it tastes like poo
Photo from here

That went on until I was 21 years old. Enough was enough. I decided I needed to start liking this black, bitter, hellish substance that everyone else seemingly loved. Problem was, I couldn't understand how I was supposed to manage that. Every time I took a sip, it felt like my tounge tried to turn itself inside out to escape that foul taste. There was only one thing to do.

I went and bought an insane amount of dark chocolate, and mixed this with the coffee in a 1:1 ratio. Then I poured liberal amounts of milk into this and put on some really loud music (in the hopes that this would drown out the taste). This sufficiently masked the taste of the coffe for me to finish a whole cup, and as there were lumps of half-melted delicious dark chocolate in the bottom for me to scrape out with a spoon afterwards, I started enjoying the whole process. Slowly, the chocolate-coffee ratio changed in favor of the coffee, and it took only a week or so before I could drop the milk.

Then one day it happened.

I remember it so well.

I had brewed a whole can of coffee, and my brother came to visit. I offered him a cup, and we sat down to drink it. Then he said "I didn't think you drank coffee, Jorunn!" I stared at him. I stared at my cup. I swallowed the sip I had just taken. And I savoured the taste of it.

I had done it.

Balloons should have flown towards the sky. Confetti should have fallen from the heavens. Pompous music should have risen from unseen speakers. There should have been a brass band. Planes with banners after them. The mayor should have shaken my hand and the newspaper should have taken my picture.

 This would have been totally appropriate.
Photo from here

From that day forth, I could hold my head up high at the sheep-head parties and drink coffee like a BOSS. No more "maybe you want some Cola, Jorunn, since you don't drink coffee?" and feeling like a ten-year-old. When going to coffee shops with my friends, I no longer had to order a cup of cocoa (with whipped cream, obviously) when everyone else talked about lattes and cappucinos and espressos. I was an adult at last!








 

Then I met my husband and no way in any hell available would he drink a cup of coffee ever, but that's okay as we all know he's supernaturally knowledgable plus he's about seventy-two times more adult than me anyway.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Meant To Be

I just have a little something to say about the idea of something being pre-destined, you know, meant to be. Let me give you an example:

Peter Jackson. He makes films, right? And he's been doing so ever since childhood. He used to watch films all the time and ran around with a Super 8 with his friends. And since he's still doing that, it's pretty obvious that it's a sign of genious and perseverence, but also that he loves doing it. Right? So he's doing what he is meant to do.

Picture from here

Flash forward to 1983. I am one year old, and my mother suddenly becomes suspicious. It's awfully quiet in the house. She hurries upstairs to my room, where she finds me, pencil in hand, having covered an entire wall in tiny little circles, as high up as I could reach.

From that point on, it pretty much only got worse. I drew on anything, with anything. My parents bought me one of those large rolls of drawing paper from IKEA, and I had a field day. Many field days, in fact, but I was unstoppable, and I filled the roll far quicker than they'd counted on. I copied pictures of Donald Duck, I made up little worlds in which aliens dwelled, I invented their gear and clothing and flying saucers. I had what seemed to be the collective imagination of a medium-sized kindergarten. I don't know how many of those rolls I filled, since none are left for posterity. Shame, really.


I kept at it. In school, when we had tests, I sometimes finished them quicker than all the others (yeah, I suppose I was kind of a geek ohwaitIstillam), so I used the extra time to make funny little drawings on the back of them for my teacher. So it surprised no-one when I decided to go to art school for my high school years. I met people who got me into comics, I read Elfquest till my eyes were sore, and made my own comics which I even entered into contests. People said I would become an artist one day, as I was so talented at drawing. An artist? I guess they didn't really pay attention to what I was drawing. But then, neither did I.

You see, even though I more often than not ended up drawing funny stuff,  I could also, when I took the time, draw and paint wonderful things. Portraits and landscapes and still life and watercolours. So I went on to university, doing a bachelor degree in Fine Art. I admit I did rather well. Rather well indeed. But when I had finished and went back to Norway, I had a nagging feeling that I wasn't supposed to do that all day for the rest of my life. So I entered a flower-arranging course.

Wait, what?  

Flower arranging, you say? WTF?! Where did that come from? I can only say that at the time, it made sense. If I was going to try to make it in the art world, I had to have something to fall back on. Especially on the Norwegian art scene, where you really have to have done your degree in Norway to get a foot in anywhere. However, by the time my year of arranging flowers was over and I was meant to take up an apprenticeship, I'd met my chiropractor, you know, the one who wants everyone to follow their dreams, and so I decided to hop off the exhilerating train (not) that is flower arranging, and take a job in a toy store.

 Flower arranging: totally blows your mind
The Flower Arrangement, painting by Otto Scholder, 19th century


Wait, what?

Yeah, yeah, I know, but that also made sense at the time. I had to sit down and think of what I wanted to do, and I needed money while doing so, and it was only for a year anyway. I continued to see my chiropractor, seeing as flower arranging had wrecked havoc of my shoulder, and little by little he got me on the right train of thought (and my shoulder back to normal), and even bought one of my paintings. And he hinted that maybe comics were my thing. I guess I have a lot to thank him for.


So I moved to Bergen to study art history. Yeah, yeah, yeeaahh ... I suppose, in hindsight, it seems like I was fighting my destiny kicking and screaming, but at the time ... it was a wonderful, interesting year in which I learned so much. And to be honest, you have to have a little life experience when making comics, because if not, what will you make your comics about?

I suppose, also, that this blog post makes it sound as though I'm this driven genious within comics who spills over with ideas and draws perfectly without effort. Not true. I encounter writer's block on a daily basis. I struggle with anatomy (because I have to draw fast, you know? Won't make any money if I spend a week on each comic strip), I have to be good at grammar, at colouring, at perspective, and because I don't have an agent, I also have to be good at all the boring office stuff as well, like taxes and accounting and billing (okay, that last one can be fun I guess).

 Picture from here

So I'm pretty sure I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to do. Doesn't mean I won't do a whole lot of other things as well, though. Like writing a blog in English. Or decorating a kick-ass cake. Or play my guitar and reminisce about my band days. Or pull out some fabric and a pattern and sew a dress or whatever. And I still pretend to be an artist every now and then, enter group exhibitions, even sell stuff for quite a lot of money. But it's not what I want to spend every day doing. Except the making money bit. I could do that ALL DAY LONG.

Thank you for you attention. Now carry on with what you were doing. And think about whether it's what you're meant to do.













Oh - and I found this picture while searching for that poster of Lord of the Rings up there. It's hilarious. If you don't get it, I suggest you go here. And also here, here and here. That's today's recommendation right there.

Photo from here


Oh. And I changed the name of my blog. It's called Written by Jorunn now. I thought about "Jorunn Writes", but then it sounded as if Writes was my last name. I'll stick with Written by Jorunn for a while.

High Density

Last week when I was in Spain, I saw a young girl on rollerskates rolling over to a payphone to make a call. I was immediately transported back to the nineties, not only because of her rollerskates (skates, not blades) but also because she was using a payphone. I thought, "why doesn't she just use her mobile phone?", and hadn't gotten as far as "maybe it ran out of battery" in my chain of thought before pointing it out to my husband and then realising what I'd said and consequently waited for a logical answer because my husband is logical and knows everything and I'm not, and I don't.

I need that payphone more than you do! Get outta my way, beyatch!!
Photo from here

He told me that perhaps not everyone in Spain has their own mobile phone. However (he said diplomatically), since Norway has the world's highest density of mobile phones per citizen, I was forgiven for thinking that everyone has one.

Seriously? Norway? What about Japan? I said. Then he pointed out, also in a calm and patient sort of way, that though Japan is very advanced in terms of technology, not all of them have a lot of money to buy mobile phones for (neither do I, which is why I held on to my last one for almost five years and I didn't even pay for that one myself), so on average the density there is lower. Then he thought for a bit and said that maybe Finland has a higher density of mobiles, seeing as they have Nokia.

This has made me think of what other things Norway have the highest density of. For instance, no-one drinks as much coffee as we do. One of the most common reasons for housefires are because people forget to turn off their coffee makers. We have coffee with our breakfast, our lunch and after our dinner, in between meals, in the car, on the train, you name it. I love coffee too, but then I did spend a whole summer forcing myself to like it. That's a story for later.

 I love coffee so much horses come out of my hair
Photo from here


Also, we read a hell of a lot of newspapers. That's another density record. I myself subscribe to three different newspapers, and that's a lot to read through every day. Plus I skim through like, four newspapers online every day. I guess we like our news.

 Rather than actually reading the newspaper,
I opt for ingesting its concents via my hands through osmosis
Photo from here

Lastly, Norway has the highest density of comics (okay, the second highest, Japan did beat us there). That explains a lot. Like why I can sit in a country with only five million people and be able to live off what I do. This is veeerrryyy goood. Keep it up. Go on. Read comics. I don't want a day job. I like la-la-land. I'm in my happy place. And I marvel at how my husband knows so many things.



Ps - I havent' been able to find reliable numbers for my husband's claim. Some numbers I did find, here, are very dated, from 2007, and they show Norway way down at number 30. However, this blog contains claims for both mobile phones and comics. It's also dated though. If you know of a reliable, up-to-date source, please feel free to mention it in the comments. And I'll ask my hubby when he gets home.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Oh, And By The Way

... here's today's recommendation. Fentiman's Curiosity Cola, Botanically Brewed.



From the label: "Full Bodied - Curiously Envigorating. Originally the product of apothecaries, cola's were first sold as "Health Drinks" and were viewed with curiosity by the public." That's their grammar, not mine. But who cares, it's a Health Drink! with capital H and D! Which means it's good for my cold. Also, it tastes just like the Soda Stream cola of my youth. Only better. With a bag of awesome. And it has a cool label.

A Whole Day In Which To Do Nothing

Don't you just love that? Having a whole day to yourself which you can spend doing whatever you like, and then decide to do nothing at all? I'm home alone for a whole day and night for the first time in over six months, AND I'm ill so that means I don't have to do any chores! Sure, I did some laundry and vaccumed upstairs but that took me, what, fifteen minutes? The rest of the time I've been sitting right here, on the couch, reading interesting blogs and looking at the fjordscape outside with its lovely autumn colours and feeling a little miffed that I can't go outside in the sunshine. Because I'm ill, you see. With a cold. Colds can be great sometimes.

I read a book this summer called "Nu, jävlar!" in which one of the characters, a pregnant woman, gets a whole day to herself when her husband and kids go away. But because she has this wonderful long stretch of blank hours, she can't decide what to do with them, so she ends up doing the things she does every day anyway - clears up after the kids, scrubs the kitchen counter etc. One by one those precious hours trail away, relentlessly, until suddenly the day is gone. Something dramatic happens at the end, but I won't say what in case you want to read it later. 

I get that feeling every night. Almost without exception I end up on the couch with my laptop, reading through the same newspapers, the same social media pages, tweet once or twice, check my emails even though I've checked them a gazillion times allready that day, check out notalwaysright.com and a couple of Cheezburger-pages. It gets tedious.

But not when I'm ill! You see, usually, I'm fit to do a whole lot of other things that are more important or useful than sitting on the couch, and then I have a bad conscience for not doing them. So I'm not really enjoying sitting there, I always feel slightly uncomfortable. And a part of my brain always plans to go do something grown-up, so I don't settle myself properly on the couch, and I sit in a rather uncomfortable position and the whole laptop-session becomes a "I'm just going to check [insert website] ...". And then it's half past ten and I have to go to bed.

But now that I'm ill, I can relax and waste time knowing that I'm actually convalescing. It's brilliant. Unless I get a fever. Which sucks. But until then, excuse me while I fetch some chocolate from the cupboard and convalesce some more.

Here's my entry for today's Naked Noseless Day at webcomicx-x.com.



It's one of the characters of Reveland, Vigdis, being all naked and noseless in a Manet-sort of style.
Have a nice Saturday, the day of the week when procrastination is mandatory!



Friday, 30 September 2011

Why This Blog Could Get Interesting

Okay.
So it's not like I've started blogging just because I was a bit bored or something. And I have a perfectly functional analogue diary sitting on my bedside table that I write in sometimes (with a real pen!), so I'm not going to blog about last weekend's family reunion or how worried I am about my cat who got in a fight and now has a limp. I guess one of the reasons I was so keen to start blogging was that I wanted to practice writing in terms of tossing my thoughts around a bit.

Like I said earlier, I make comics, for the most part short and funny ones. But when I sit down to read a comic, I like to snuggle up in my couch with a cup of something hot and disappear in some wonderful world of colours and art and story. Like Bone. Or Maus. (Ok, these are originally black and white, but you catch my drift). Or a volume of Flight. Or Strangers in Paradise, an all-time favourite. I can spend minutes looking at a single panel of any one of these, trying to work out how it was done, or what the author was thinking, and what I would have done if I was the author. Reading a comic isn't just a pastime for me, I can't help but try and learn stuff while I'm at it, whether it's storytelling tricks or colouring techniques or what have you.

So i might tell you right away that I'm hoping to make my own Grand Epic Comic one day. I've already done quite a lot of research for it, but I'm not going to actually tell you what it's about because let's face it - there are people out there who wouldn't think twice about stealing ideas. But I can use this blog to air my head a little, vent some frustration, write about something else altogether.

Also I was wondering if I should try to write the whole comic as a book first, not a proper book of course, more like a manuscript. Comics have a lot in common with filmmaking, and films also start out with manuscripts. Then they move on to storyboards, and what is a storyboard if not a rudimentary comic?

Anyway, this was a rather serious and perhaps dull blog entry, but now it's out there - I want to make an Epic Comic, so maybe now I'll get my ass in gear and do something about it. Here's a picture to lighten things up a bit.


Oh, and today's recommendation: Fisherman's Friend. They really do clear up the pipes something wonderful.



Edit: When I write Grand Epic Comic, I obviously mean graphic novel. With lots and lots of pages. Probably more than one book. Maybe many. Who knows.




This Is What I Do For A Living

Right, so I thought I might have a little show-and-tell today. I make comics, which are then printed in various papers and magazines here in Norway. My longest-running comic to date is Reveland, which translates as "fox land/country" which just sounds lame. "Reveland" also sounds lame, but that's what it was called back when I was twelve and made the first comic about Superfox who saved pretty girls from drowning and suchlike, and I never got around to changing it and now I reckon it's too late.

In the year 2000 I entered a comics contest with an extremely naïve rendition of my fox universe, but then, I was eighteen and an art student and all ironic and clever and things. I never heard from the jury. Three years later, though, I entered again, and this time I was runner-up. That was encouraging, so of course I put my comic in a drawer and didn't look at it again until 2007 (thanks to my chiropractor, who is a great believer in following your dreams and listening to the universe and things) when I got it printed in my local newspaper. Four years later, I'm making four different comics on a regular basis. I quit my day job in January 2009. I worked in a gardening center, but I'll save that story for later.

Here's an example of my comic Reveland:



(I know, that joke is SO old. But it had very little text so it didn't take me long to translate it. I'm super busy you know. That is why I'm writing a blog entry instead of actually working)

I'm also proud to say NONE of my comics have ever been refused for print. Except one, because it was so obscure that the editor didn't understand the joke. It was about that milkshake-song and all the boys to the yard and I made that Scotland Yard, which in the comic was a stick at the Scottish official yard-measure themepark where you could get chilled milk beverages, and --- okay, I guess I understand why they refused that one.

Did I mention I have a baby? He's six months old today. Hooray!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

First Entry

Hi there. Hello. Yes. Welcome to my blog! If you read this, you're --- probably very thorough, seeing as it's my first blog entry here, and that means that maybe my blog in the distant future has become quite popular and you wanted to read the whole thing and not just the new entries. So I should probably write something really interesting and funny here to make it worthwhile for you. Yes.

Right. Well, I'm a tall blonde Norwegian, but don't let that put you off. I'm a comics creator, which means I write and draw comics for a living, which is pretty cool. I'm also sometimes a fine artist, in fact I have a fine arts degree, so occacionally I paint something and maybe someone buys it. When they do, I get really happy, because then I get money and also unsold paintings take a lot of storage space.

I just did an internet test that showed that I in no way have Asperger's syndrome, however I do tend to get intensely interested in things and obsess about them, so if you for some reason keep reading my blog over a lengthy period of time you'll probably see evidence of this and then you'll probably be a little annoyed. Don't worry though, I usually lose interest after a while. But this will mean that I might write things like "I WANT TO BE A WRITER SO BAD AND I HAVE AN AMAZING IDEA FOR A BOOK WHICH WILL SELL MORE THAN THE BIBLE AND BE MADE INTO FILMS WHICH WILL WIN ALL THE OSCARS IN THE WORLD", so when that happens, just smile and nod and carry on with whatever you're doing.

For said reason, see above, I won't say that this blog is about anything. Because even though today it might be a blog about comics, tomorrow it might be about cooking. Or babies. Or computers. Or art history. Or cookies. It probably won't be about politics, though. Or mathematics. Or ferrets. Or unicorns and rainbows. Sorry about that.

Anyways, a good blog entry should include a picture, so I've drawn one for you. It's not very good though. Here it is:



Also, a good blog entry should include a recommendation of something. So I recommend you go ahead and read the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. It's really good. Here's a picture of it:



Right, have a nice day, then!

Edit: You might wonder why I called this blog "Have a Dang Cookie". I haven't really got an answer for that. I'll probably change it sometime. When I've thought of something really good.

Sub-meta-edit from the future: It's not called Have A Dang Cookie anymore.

Edit 2: That little drawing I made above? I made that on a Bamboo Pen&Touch Special Edition. It has a little program called Doodler. It's very basic but pretty neat.