Starting again

December 31st, 2012 No comments

I’m thinking of starting this blog again. I’ll keep the old stuff I’ll already blogged, but continue from there. I might become anonymous so I can write to my heart’s content without family or friends misinterpreting what I write. I would like some anonymity so I can write almost whatever I want to. I actually miss my blogging days, but during those days I was single, didn’t have a son, went to school and probably lived under mom’s roof. Regardless, I’m going to take some time to figure this out and then I’ll see if I return to writing here or tear it all down.

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To finagle

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Believe it or not, I’ve actively been trying to find a situation in which I can use the word finagle in.

Mulder used it in an X-Files episode I saw many years ago. He told Scully that he’d acquired a certain item through “finagling”.  What a weird choice of words, but wonderful nonetheless!

One day I’ll finagle.

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Tortured artist

February 10th, 2010 No comments

There’s nothing as beautifully sad as a tortured artist.

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The 3rd floor

January 22nd, 2010 No comments

I live on the third floor in a building of four. Now and then I catch myself thinking if I’m on the right floor, opening the right door. Is this door somebody else’s? I turn around and look to the adjacent building and get a feel of the height I’m in, and assure myself that this is indeed my flat I’m about to enter. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I go one floor too high, or one floor too low.

I actually feel intrigued by this, and not disturbed or worried. It’s weird how the brain sometimes plays games with us, but, then again, isn’t the brain “us”?

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Icesave for dummies (including me)

January 15th, 2010 No comments
Icesave logo

Icesave / Iceslave

The Icesave debacle is an intimidating subject, even for those who are interested in it. Then there are those of us who have no interest in it but have to understand it as it affects us personally. Everybody here in Iceland is tired of it and everybody changes their position towards it just as often as their underwear. The story goes something like this:

Landsbankinn opened the online savings brand in the United Kingdom and Holland. They promised accounts with great interests and it attracted a lot of customers. It turned out that the bank didn’t have the funds to finance the interests and borrowed money from other banks, who in return borrowed from yet another since the funds literally didn’t exist. Anyone with half a brain can see that this circle of lending each other money can not sustain itself, and the banks were in huge debts. Landsbankinn collapsed in early October, 2008, followed by two other big banks in Iceland. The bankers responsible can in no way pay those debts, so it has fallen on the Icelandic government, i.e. the citizens of Iceland. The people are not entirely happy with this, that they (we) have to pay Britain $3.75 billion and the Netherlands $1.72 billion. The Icelandic parliament accepted what has become known as the Icesave bill, that is Iceland would pay those debts. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, president of Iceland, refused to sign the bill and sent it to referendum.

This might be over simplified, and simply wrong in some aspects, but it only goes to show how complicated the whole issue is. Not only for people interested, but for those of us who are not at all interested in it but are forced to follow it on the news if we are at all interested in our future.

This has been an incredibly boring post and I promise never to write anything like this ever again.

Categories: Current affairs Tags: ,

McDonald’s abolished from Iceland

November 19th, 2009 No comments

Bizarrely, the closing of McDonald’s here in Iceland became big news around the world last month. Some reported it wrongly, saying that McDonald’s was leaving Iceland while, in fact, Lyst, the firm running the franchise, was forced to close it down due to financial reasons.

Drive-thru Icelandic menu

Drive-thru Icelandic menu

The McDonald’s company has been forcing their branches worldwide to import the food goods from centralized stations. In our case, Iceland’s, Lyst had to import almost everything from Germany instead of being able to use local quality sources. The price became too much and Lyst decided to pull out. What probably hasn’t been reported is that the company opened a new restaurant under the name Metro at the same places where McDonald’s had been. Although I’ve not been there myself, personally, I hear stories of how similar the food is to McDondald’s. It seems to attract the same people who loved McDonald’s, but the raw material is all Icelandic, though.

Personally, I’m glad McDonald’s is no longer here. Not because I hated the food, I thought it was okay (although I really did like McFlurry), but because of how it has been associated with so many negativity the past years. Some don’t consider any given Western society complete unless it has a McDonald’s, while at the same time it helps cause obesity in America’s kids and adults alike.

We don’t have McDonald’s and we don’t either have Burger King. I take pride in that. The majority of people around me are either extremely happy that McDonald’s is no longer here, or they’re indifferent. I’m glad it’s gone for the image is associated with it, not necessarily the food itself. When I want a good burger I go somewhere else. There’s a group on Facebook called “við viljum mcdonalds aftur á ísland” (english: We want McDonald’s back to Iceland). Total members: 3

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra plays John Williams

October 24th, 2009 No comments
The John Williams World

The John Williams World

Tonight the Iceland Symphony Orchestra played a selection of John Williams’s works he has made for the cinema. It’s a rare feast  on such a remote rock as Iceland is and I was sure not to be missing out on it (with some insider help, to be honest).

Without a doubt, there’s no other film composer better known in the world than John Williams. And no wonder. He’s the man behind the Superman theme, the Star Wars theme (and the fantastic Imperial March), the Indiana Jones theme, the Jaws theme to name just a few! Even though the playlist was stellar (see below) I felt there were so many great tracks missing. But that would require at least another hour or two to perform. Still, I wouldn’t mind sitting through it.

In no particular order, the highlights have to have been Theme From Schindler’s List, Main Title (Theme from “Jaws”) and The Imperial March from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The theme from Schindler’s List is such a hauntingly beautiful piece, it really stands apart from the others, while The Imperial March is grandiose and epic and powerful – spine tingling stuff. The theme from Jaws is really a minimalistic piece; so simple yet so unsettling and magnificent.

I have mentioned it before that I love scores from movies. I think I’ve liked the music for as long as I’ve loved films, which is pretty much from when I can remember myself. Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films were watched a lot while growing up as a young boy, and John Williams was the first composer whom I began to recognize and like. And for a long time he was the only composer I knew of. But music began to be more and more important of the whole experience to me, and many works began to stand out by themselves, without being set to motion pictures. I really know of few others but my brother and I who listen to film compositions as any other music.

All in all, the concert was terrific.

Set list:

  • Olympic Fanfare and Theme
  • The Cowboys, Prelude
  • Jaws, Main Theme
  • E.T.: The Flying Theme
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Hedwig’s Theme
  • Schindler’s List, Main Theme
  • Jurassic Park, Main Theme
  • Raider’s of the Lost Ark, March
  • Music from Star Wars
    • Main Theme
    • The Parade
    • Anakin’s Theme
    • Heroes Fight
    • Imperial March
    • Yoda’s Theme
    • The Throne Room/End Title

Bullfights

October 23rd, 2009 1 comment
Spanish Matador Jose Tomas

Spanish Matador Jose Tomas

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a matador failing his part and getting caught by the bull, I get an overwhelming sense of justice for the bull.

Many years ago I remember seeing an interview with a Spanish matador. He claimed that the death of a bull in a bullfight was much more dignifying than being slaughtered. I fail to see that. The bull enters the ring with no chance of surviving, and it’s pain is extended by poisonous/sedating spears, aggrivation and exhaustion, until a sword is finally thrust into the animal’s back of the neck, executing it. Is this dignifying or humiliating?

When a bull is slaughtered it is shot with a needle into the skull, killing it in a split second. How is that compared to an entire bullfight? A bull doesn’t have the intelligence of being able to distinguish dignity from humiliation, therefore the justification of the matador’s is entirely his own, for allowing himself to glorify himself in a self-serving ritual.

Damn right I’m against bullfights. I respect that this is a ritual and a spectacle since the early 19th century (in Spain), but we do live in the 21st century now. Two years ago the NFL quarterback Michael Vick served 18 months in prison for organizing dog fights (as well as molestation of dogs, brutally killing them and more). I’m sure dog fights were at some point not considered illegal, but times change, and I think the days of bull fighting should be long since over.

Memory

September 7th, 2009 3 comments

For the first time in my life I’m getting up from bed on the left side. No kidding. I’ve never, ever lived where I leave the bed on the left side. I’ve lived here for about 5 months now and I still haven’t got used to it. Sometimes I wake up without opening my eyes, and I find myself on the far left side of the bed, sometimes with my left leg hanging out from the edge, and for just a few seconds I don’t know where I am. The background noise is unfamiliar to me. How can I be slipping out from bed where the wall is? Ahh – I exit on the left now.

One would expect getting used to this, but after 30 years of the other way around, it can be quite difficult. It also makes me wonder why my bed has never been arranged like this before. Why has it always been like that until now? I mean, 30 years! Of course, this is not the end of the world, or am I going to rearrange things. This is actually quite interesting.

After about a month living here I moved the forks and knives etc. up one drawer. So now it’s in the top-most drawer. Still, four months later, I sometimes open the second drawer for a knife. How come? I didn’t get that used to it. It’s strange how memory can play tricks on you. I remember a conversation about memory from Waltz With Bashir, which I watched for the first time a few days ago [Excellent, excellent film! Perhaps more on that later]. One of the two characters in the conversations was a psychologist, and disgussed how memory often fabricates events, gaps that you’ve forgot. Instead of just remaining blank, a gap in the memory, the mind (the memory) creates something to suit the context of the entire memory. Sometimes it can be something you read long ago, saw on TV, or just created from nothing. Imagination.

Memory, sleep and dreams have fascinated me for a long time. And it all seems somehow intertwined. I have a feeling that surrealists would call the waking state an unnecessary realm while absent from sleep. It just so happens that I’m studying a bit on surrealism (again), reading these days the autobiography of Luis Buñuel titled My Last Sigh, and Luis Buñuel: New Readings. In his autobiography he states that you are in fact your memory. It’s hard to deny that. If you forget who your parents/children are, and then ultimately, yourself. Then what are you?

You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops

August 14th, 2009 No comments

Everything changes, for better or for worse. Some changes we accept with open arms, while we wish others wouldn’t have to occur. Some memories are just too painfully sweet to be buried deep down underneath fleeting thoughts and worries of tomorrow. Those memories belong to the changes you wish that hadn’t occurred. The ones you refer back to time and again, just as a reminder of who and what shaped you into the person you consist of today. The scabs of the past you keep peeling off, partly because you don’t want the wound to heal completely.

So what if you visit the past regularly? Some people think of regret as a sign of weakness. Regret is a part of the past, and the past is a part of you. You can keep denying the past but it will catch on to you, eventually. Why not embrace it and invite it in every once in a while?

Well, you do what you like. I know how I deal with it, successfully or not. At least I learn how to cope with it.

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