« October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

November 26, 2007

Svart uke - en oppdatering

I følge Elisabeth er det nå julemelk i butikken. Det vil si melkekartonger med julemotiv på. Siden jeg er politisk motstander av julefeiring før første desember (som nevnt kan man oppnevne seg selv til politisk motstander av alt man bare ikke liker når man studerer samfunnsvitenskap), kan jeg ikke kjøpe melk denne uken. Kaffemaskinen min får altså en svart uke - ingen cappuccino, cortado eller macciato før advent.

Svart uke er et begrep jeg har fra Tim Wendelboe, og nei, det er ikke så emo som det høres ut. Når dette er siste uke før eksamen, og det nettopp er blitt avgjort at jeg ikke skal flytte til Paris likevel, men at jeg faktisk ikke helt vet hva jeg skal gjøre etter jul, er det likevel en viss fare for at det ikke bare er kaffen min som virker svart. Jeg trøster meg selv med at jeg nå i hvert fall kan delta på dette.

Posted by Julie at 5:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 18, 2007

Random facts and thoughts

This post is a response to this post. As an alternative to writing “Seven odd facts about me”, I am commenting on seven odd facts about my friend. And being the self-centered person I am, I'm saying a lot about myself at the same time. This is also an exercise on how much I can write about nothing, so if you don't feel like reading a lot about nothing, don't.

  1. You have an exceptional sense of smell; my sense of smell (pardon the pun) really stinks. This is perfect. As long as I stay close to you at all times forever, you can be my sense of smell. I was a little thrown by the comment about someone you like having a funky smell. You would have told me, right? Someone would have told me? Fortunately, my self esteem is great. Someone said to me a few hours ago: “Oh, so that's why you have no sense of competition. You know you're better than everyone else.” Well, it actually sounded much nicer when he said it. Anyway, my self-esteem is good, and I have already decided that there is no way I will ever take any hints from your blog at all (unless they're the good kind). And also, the good thing about having enemies is that they tell you exactly what's wrong with you. I've heard that I'm self-centered (yeah, I know), boring, weird, nerdy, bad at picking shoes (that one hurt), but never funky-smelling. In fact, strangers tell me the opposite, and that (for future reference) is a compliment I really love to receive, since I actually do wonder about this. I wonder if deaf people obsess about how their voices sound.

  2. You don't chew gum or eat licorice. Thank you for being sane. Especially the gum thing. Licorice tastes bad, but gum is bad. It's evil. One of my sad “I guess grown-ups make mistakes too” experiences from my early teens was when I scraped gum off the bottom of desks from the Norwegian School of Management. These were not the desks of the freshmen undergrads, they were the desks of the MBA students. Adults who have been through years of business school, then started their careers, then returned for even more school, and they still stick their gum under their desks. See what this foul stuff does to people and their respect for school property? Sad. By the way, I have no idea why I was scraping this gum off. I know my dad teaches these disgusting people, but I don't know what their desks were doing on our porch. I'm guessing we were using them as extra tables for a garden party. I must have been pretty enthusiastic about that party. (If you become an MIT lab rat, I can go to the Kennedy School of Government or Boston University Journalism, and I won't have to miss you.)

  3. You like skirts better than pants. Well, duh. So do I in general, although I do love my Jeans. There are plenty of random anecdotes I could tell you involving skirts or jeans, but I'll tell you the latest one: Last week, in the elevator at work, a guy from some other office in the building looked at my legs for a long time and then said: “Aren't you cold in that skirt...?” I told him I wasn't – in Norwegian, so I suppose my reply could be translated as anything from: “You see, what with my hand-knitted wool socks and gigantic shapeless woolen sweater, I'm OK, thanks.” to “Actually, I think it's getting hot in here.” I don't know how he interpreted it, but it wasn't the first option. I fled. Don't worry, I wasn't scared, just kind of shocked. Maybe I should write a list of weird elevator experiences (like the list of weird customer experiences at my last job) and mass e-mail it on my last day. I would include the adorable Japanese gentleman (old man adorable, not cute guy adorable) who insisted on opening all the doors for me as I left work, even though that meant I had to wait for him next to the doors, as he was walking really slowly – almost limping.

  4. Your hands are sensitive to heat. Now, listen and learn: First you buy coffee. If at all possible, get it in a real cup. This can be done. Even if you're doing take-away, as long as you promise to come back with the cup. I think it's kind of like getting your coffee upgraded to large without paying extra. If there's a girl behind the counter, send a guy to get you coffee. If there's a guy behind the counter, you can charm him yourself. If that doesn't work, ask for a larger paper cup than the size of your drink requires. If that doesn't work, get two napkins and wrap them around the paper cup. Also, it's a law of nature that if you're carrying two napkins, you won't spill anything. This is a variation of the law that means it won't rain if I'm wearing rain boots (notice how it worked in Bergen?)

  5. You have a scar on your left hip. I must have seen this, but I can't remember. My only scar is a finger-nail-shaped one on my left hand. It's from a fight with my sister. I don't remember exactly when I got it, but I do remember looking at the wound and thinking: “That won't scar.” But it did. I think it's very fitting that she's the only one to have left that kind of mark on me.

  6. Your first musical love was Belle & Sebastian. The first CD I bought for myself (or chose and had a parent pay for, possibly) was the soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera – the original musical. I was ten, and I LOVED that CD. I think my introduction to popular music (for my own generation, not my dad's music) was TLC at about the same age. A girl in my class who had older sisters listened to that. In elementary school, it was the usual stuff (Spice Girls, No Doubt and Jewel are artists I remember buying albums from at that time). I didn't really listen to music for a few years after that. I went to a middle school where Destiny's Child was considered weird and alternative, so my options were limited. I wish Pandora had existed back then. Or that I had met you sooner.

  7. You grew up in a house where the radio was always on, and now you can't stand background noise. I grew up in a house without music. Not that it was silent – I get my ability to go on and on and on about the most random subjects from my parents. My dad has some stuff he likes, but my mom dislikes the concept of background music, and she's not really a fan of anything in particular. I like background noise (and studying on campus). What gets to me is repeated sounds. Ringing phones that no one answers are bad. Worse is people repeating short messages over and over, like yelling someone's name in the exact same tone again and again and again. Oh and whining voices. Some pop songs (think Fergie) manage to combine all of these annoyances.

Posted by Julie at 10:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 14, 2007

Whatever, go ahead (sigh)

I found the following in my inbox today, and it's about the fifth time I've read this:

Nine words women use...

1.) Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4.) Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6.) That's Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever : Is a women's way of saying F@!K YOU!

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to #3.

I was encouraged to pass this along to all the men I know, so that they can improve their vocabulary, and all the women I know, because we'll all laugh at how true it is. Well, it's not.

First of all, guys: you don't get to whine that "all girls do is talk about their feelings" and that "girls don't tell you how they feel; they just tell you nothing's wrong". It's one or the other.

Secondly, I think any guy who does take this seriously has either had some very bad experiences or is just completely paranoid. If I say I'm fine, I'm fine. Not fantastic, because I'll tell you if I'm doing fantastic, but fine. If I'm mad at someone, I'm very clear about that.

Thirdly, an excellent way to see just how clear I am about my anger, is to tell me you're fine and then just expect me to understand that you're not. If people - male or female - insist on sending mixed signals and sighing instead of telling me what their problem is, then I will generally interpret the situation according to how I feel. No clear complaints = you don't care = I make whatever decision has to be made.

And lastly, I know I'm taking this way too seriously, but it's one of many, many examples of "This is how men think; this is how women think" that makes me think: "OK, what is wrong with me?" Because according to all these theories, I clearly don't think like a woman. And I am not fine or OK with anyone telling me that.

Posted by Julie at 4:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 11, 2007

This week

Fattiglus i sus og dus Slik vi definerer fattigdom i Norge, kommer vi alltid til å ha fattige. Kaia Storvik i Dagsavisen skriver: "Jeg har levd med veldig lite penger selv (...) Men det er få jeg kjenner som føler seg fattige. Selv gjorde jeg aldri det. Og er du fattig da? (...) Fattigdom er å ikke ha råd til å leve et anstendig liv. Du er ikke fattig fordi du ikke har råd til å dra på ferie til utlandet. Det er å ha dårlig råd. Selvsagt finnes det fattige i Norge. Noen lever under forhold vi overhodet ikke skal akseptere. Men det gjelder ikke over 6 prosent av befolkningen."

Posted by Julie at 10:15 AM | TrackBack

November 10, 2007

A note to subscribers

First of all - thanks for subscribing!

Secondly - I'm recategorizing, and that means you may be getting some old posts in your Bloglines or similar.  

Posted by Julie at 11:52 AM | TrackBack

November 7, 2007

"A brief history of record industry suicide"

Read this. It's a comment on the music industry after the music site Oink was shut down. Although I never used Oink myself, I've been meaning to write something about these issues for a while. Luckily someone saved me the time by writing something I agree with.

Here's a quote:

"Oink was not only an absolute paradise for music fans, but it was unquestionably the most complete and most efficient music distribution model the world has ever known. I say that safely without exaggeration. It was like the world's largest music store, whose vastly superior selection and distribution was entirely stocked, supplied, organized, and expanded upon by its own consumers. If the music industry had found a way to capitalize on the power, devotion, and innovation of its own fans the way Oink did, it would be thriving right now instead of withering. If intellectual property laws didn't make Oink illegal, the site's creator would be the new Steve Jobs right now. He would have revolutionized music distribution. Instead, he's a criminal, simply for finding the best way to fill rising consumer demand. I would have gladly paid a large monthly fee for a legal service as good as Oink - but none existed, because the music industry could never set aside their own greed and corporate bullshit to make it happen." 

Related posts:

Posted by Julie at 12:48 AM | TrackBack

November 6, 2007

Rant on technology and manners

People who rant about technology and manners usually annoy me. I'm talking about the bookstore employee with the obnoxious-sounding voice who wouldn't let me use a cell phone near the entrance of her store, or the people in front of me at a conference on information technology who told me: "You know, the sound of your typing is sort of distracting." The basic theory of these people is that using cell phones and computers is essentially private and for the fun of it, and therefore rude in public. This is absolutely ridiculous. (Or as Kristiane writes in Norwegian, it's so 2003.)

Slightly less ridiculous is the idea that communication technology can be stressful because it forces us to be perpetually available to anyone who has our contact information. This idea makes people turn their phones off, only check their e-mail during weekdays, and relish the lack of internet connection in their vacation homes. This can be extremely stressful to the people who need to get in touch with them, but sometimes people just need a break, right? As usual, the problem is not e-mail or text messaging in itself, but the fact that our habits and our rules of decent behaviour haven't caught up with the changes in technology.

Ok, where's the rant? Is this really me being angry?

See, that's the whole point. This issue doesn't make me rage, but maybe it should. Someone once told me that in this information technology age, if the sound of your own cellphone ringtone makes you stressed instead of excited, and if checking your e-mail and seeing no new messages is a relief rather than a disapointment, then you know you've grown up. I guess I have.

I don't currently have a stalker, a demanding job or particularly needy friends. But somehow, all the little messages and questions and requests seem to add up to a full-time job (which I do in addition to full-time studies and part-time receptionist work) as a combination of secretary, therapist, event planner, student guidance counselor, tutor, mediator and research assistant to everyone I know. Because I'm such a language geek that I genuinely want to proof-read your essay. As long as I'm taking notes in class, I might as well e-mail you a copy. I know everyone who's going on this trip, so it makes sense that I coordinate things. Yes, I do know the address of that restaurant. Don't worry, everything will be ok, but I'm here for you if you need to talk. I would love to have coffee with you. You know, I read about that somewhere - I'll send you a link.

I do know that I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I don't know exactly how to stop this. And I really don't think that turning off my cellphone and going into some sort of hermit-like existence whenever I want to relax is a healthy or polite way. I really believe that if you publish your e-mail address somewhere, you should check it regularly, and answer people, and that if you have a cellphone, people who have your number should be allowed to call.

But maybe it's time I set a few rules:

  • If I've already e-mailed you something, you have the information. You're welcome by the way. I'm not sending it again. I'm not printing it out for you. I don't necessarily have the info in my head, so I won't repeat it if you call. If you choose to have an e-mail system that doesn't let you search or archive things so that you find them again, I highly recommend gmail.
  • If I don't answer the phone, send me a text message. I'm probably in the library. I'm always in the library (nerd, remember?)
  • I don't like paper. I don't like printing things. Just accept that.
  • Try Google before you ask me. I once got a call from a classmate about something, and when I suggested Google Scholar, she called me an angel and a lifesaver. Seriously.
  • I really feel that a short, "rude" answer along the lines of: "This really is not my problem; I don't have time to help you." is much more considerate than just ignoring e-mails or texts with direct questions for weeks. I follow this rule myself. Don't take it personally.
  • When I leave a party "early", there's a reason for this. I really do want to stay for one more dance or one more drink. Please don't tempt me. I am human, and I need sleep.
    • (Or comment on the blog, which is essentially the same thing. You can even tell me not to publish the comment, which makes commenting the exact same thing. Except that this guy is able to read unpublished comments, so beware.)

Posted by Julie at 4:02 PM | TrackBack