October 8, 2011

First impressions of living in London

It's been about two and a half weeks since I moved here. I am still not home (it won't feel like home until I have internet access in my apartment), but I look forward to settling in. Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts:

1. Just before leaving Norway, I noticed that I was using the word "practical" too much. I described everything as convenient and useful. Now that I live in London, my new over-used word is "ridiculous." No water pressure in the shower if my flatmate is doing the dishes downstairs? Ridiculous. Purely decorative balconies, with no doors from the house? Ridiculous. It takes 14 days for Virgin Media to connect me to the internet? Ridiculous. I can't buy one beer; I have to buy six? Ridi. no, practical.

2. I like British friendliness to strangers (let's shorten it to FTS). Norwegian FTS doesn't exist in cities. French FTS doesn't exist at all. American FTS goes way too far (There is no way the sales assistants at department stores like my outfits that much). British FTS is all about small talk.

3. Small talk, contrary to popular belief, does not necessarily revolve around the weather. The important question is how you got to where the small talk took place. Did you take a bus or a train? How delayed was the London underground today? (Apparently, this last week was historically bad, tube-delay-wise.)

4. The London School of Economics and Political Science (let's shorten that to LSE) wasn't joking when it described itself as "international" and "diverse". I don't think I've met any English students so far. I've met plenty of Norwegians though.

6. There doesn't seem to be ANY connection between what the weather is like and what the English Londoners are wearing.

7. Although I like to believe you can do anything in London, being spontaneous is a lot harder here than in a tiny city like Oslo. It takes you two hours to get anywhere, and once you're there, so are thousands of other people.

8. I think I will start speaking British English with an American accent. Queue is a distinct word, more specific than line. Flat is shorter than apartment. As long as we aren't sharing rooms, I live with my flatmate, not my roommate. Our flat isn't flat though; it has stairs.

9. Most of the advertisements on the underground are for books or cultural events. I like this. And I like that I see so many people on public transport reading novels.

10. I also like that no matter where you go, there will be a pub serving fish and chips and an assortment of beers on tap. I am writing this at my new local pub, surrounded by families, couples, the pub's dog, and a few people like me, with laptops and coffee.

Posted by Julie at 6:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 23, 2011

Quick update


I have just moved to London for a one-year Master of Science in Economic History at LSE. School starts in about a week. My wrist is completely healthy, and my new laptop has plenty of half-finished blog posts. I am in the process of moving for the fourth time in two months.

Posted by Julie at 12:29 AM | TrackBack

August 7, 2011

Writing soon

A quick update on the wrist situation: I had an operation about a month ago. It wasn't tendinitis, but a ganglion. I feel much better now - and I'm writing this with both hands! - but I am still not quite well enough to write full time. I will be back soon. Very soon.

If you can read Norwegian, check out my dad's blog post about all of this.

Posted by Julie at 12:50 PM | TrackBack

June 6, 2011

Not writing

I'm not writing. No blogging, no Twitter, no E24. I have tendinitis, a repetitive strain injury, in my right hand. My physiotherapist says it's probably De Quervain syndrome. I just know that I have a bump on my right wrist, and writing (typing or by hand), as well as using a mouse or trackpad, hurts - and keeps hurting for days.

I can read. I can dance. But I can't write. I am slowly typing this with my left hand. For almost as long as I can remember, writing has been my all-purpose solution - my work, my fun, my therapy. Without it, I don't feel like myself - but I will be back.

Posted by Julie at 6:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 11, 2011

To all my champagne people...

"We have a champagne relationship, protected from a lot of the everyday wear and tear that other couples go through. We are free to do as we wish, but at the same time we know we love each other and that whenever we meet, it's fantastic."
- Victora Bugge Øye, interviewed by the magazine D2 about her long-distance relationship (my translation)

If my life were to be retold in film, and to realistically portray the big emotional moments, it would have to include scenes like this: I sit on my couch, staring, shocked, at an e-mail. My cell phone beeps just as I am waking up, and I start the day with a little dance of joy when I read the text I just got. I log onto Google talk in the middle of the night when I can't sleep without a few lines of encouragement from the other side of the world. I hide behind a tree in the center of Oslo to cry and scream into my cell phone. On opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, my best friend and I each open a bottle of Sam Adams and toast each other via Skype.

Has anyone done that yet: Made a film where the protagonist is always physically alone, only shown interacting with characters through videochat, Facebook, e-mail, blogging, phone calls etc.? Because some of the most important characters in the story of my life have been people who are hardly ever there in the geographical sense. But they are always there in the sense that matters: there for me.

I fill my long-distance friends in on my life in great big heaps of information. Sometimes just composing a response to "So, what is new with you?" can be a way of clearing my own head, making sense of my priorities.  There is no time to waste on everyday small complaints, but for the real problems I prefer to go to my long-distance people, the ones who do not have to deal with my life every day.

Perhaps I just want someone to accept my side of things. Long-distance friend won't say "Really, that guy?" when I describe a crush, because they've never met him. Long-distance friends won't let a secret about me slip out when they talk to my co-workers or family members. Long-distance friends won't notice if I skip past the boring or embarrasing details of a story. And yet, long-distance friends manage - again and again - to call me out on it when I'm not being completely honest with them or myself. Because they've been listening.

Distance has a way of focusing the attention within a friendship. There is no need to involve anyone else, to introduce friends to friends, boyfriends to families, no need to struggle with integrating the person I am when I talk to Friend A with the person I am when I talk to Friend B. Instead of going to parties with groups of other people, we interact in one long two-person conversation.

When people say online communication is impersonal, I don't understand what they mean. On the contrary, it can be immensely personal, if it works like this: I think of you, and I tell you so immediately. I don't have to wait until I see you to let you know I had a thought you should know about. You are directly connected to my thoughts.

That being said, sometimes I need a hug. And sometimes I need a hug from someone specific, someone who lives too far away.

And maybe I do idolize my long-distance loves because I don't have to deal with them on a regular basis. Whenever we see each other, it's a cause for celebration, for champagne. Like at most events involving champagne, we gloss over the imperfections and pretend there won't be a tomorrow. But maybe that's a good thing. Sometimes it's best to view life as a series of beautiful moments. That's what my (roommate who happens to be a) therapist says.  

Knowing you are loved - even from a distance - can be enormously comforting whenever your geographically close life feels less than great. Drinking water alone is easier when you know there will be someone to drink champagne with someday soon.

The photo was taken in Paris, by Julie Balise. We drank champagne on the last day we lived in the same country.

Posted by Julie at 1:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 6, 2011


I like question-and-answer memes because I like answering questions about myself (embarrassing, but true. I also like filling in questionaires.) But I also like memes because when I go back and read the archives, the answers are like a little piece of frozen time, with tiny details of my life that I would never specifically blog about. So even though a meme is not really "serious" enough for my blog (eh, whatever), here's one:

1. Make a list of 5 things that are in your bag: (these are the first five things I find)
- red leather gloves
- the latest issue of argument
- dance shoes
- black shoe shine
- red nail polish

2. What is the significance of your journal name?
This website is run by my own rules, according to Julie, which is my name. It was the working title when my dad first set up this site ages ago, and the fact that it shows up top of peoples' alphabetized blog rolls is nice.

3. What is one item of clothing you wish you could always wear?
Nothing. I mean, I crave variety.

4. What do you plan to do after this meme?
Go test a coffee shop while editing a book.

5. What are you listening to right now?
Ella Fitzgerald

6. Who was the last person you hugged?
One of my dance partners, as we said good-bye on the subway after dance class.

7. What was the last thing you downloaded?
A draft of the book I'm editing.

8. What did you do today?
Not much so far. Blogged.

9. What was the last game you played?
The game of Life, with my family last Sunday.

10. What websites do you always visit when you go online?
Gmail. E24. Facebook. Also Twitter, via Tweetdeck.

11. What irritates you nearly on a daily basis?
Moziers/slow walkers. Actually, make that slowness in communication/transportation in general, including buses, walking, internet access and people who don't answer their phones.

12. If you could afford to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
South Africa, as the only reason I'm not there now is that I can't afford it.

13. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Age 4: A witch, or a librarian. Then I found out that so many librarians are witches, and changed my career plans. 
Age 6: An actess.
Age 8: An actress first, then an author of children's books.
Age 10: A writer 
Age 12: A writer.

14. Ever had a weird dream? What was it about?
I have a lot of weird dreams. I find them entertaining, but then I tend to forget them.

15. What are you doing this weekend?
Learning the Lindy Hop. 

16. If you could play any musical instrument, which one would you play?

17. What's the one thing you need the most now?
A solution to a problem that I'm not going to blog about.

18. If you could have one superpower, what kind of power would you choose?
Time travel.

19. What was the last thing you ate?
Wasa crackers with cream cheese and pesto.

20. A feature that you like about yourself.
My hands.

Posted by Julie at 12:08 PM | TrackBack

April 5, 2011

Hvordan få Julie til å spise ost

Illustrasjonen virker logisk om du leser hele bloggposten.Jeg liker ikke ost. Når jeg innrømmer det, blir folk stort sett irritert på meg. Jeg har fått fiender på grunn av ost. Folk stempler meg som barnslig, kresen, vanskelig, og overhodet ikke interessert i gode smaksopplevelser på noen måte.

Kanskje jeg blir bedre likt om jeg omformulerer meg:

Jeg har fortsatt ikke møtt en ost jeg har likt. Og tro meg, jeg har prøvd. En av mine aller beste venninner er kjøkkensjef utdannet i Frankrike, og jeg har smakt alt hun har bedt meg smake. Med jevne mellomrom drar jeg til en fancy ostedisk i en såkalt velassortert matbutikk og sier: "Surprise me!" Men det hjelper ikke. Kanskje det er konsistensen; kanskje det er en ekstremt mild form for laktoseintoleranse, men jeg ser bare ikke poenget. Jeg klarer å spise både brie og parmesan for eksempel, men dere andre som elsker disse ostene kan godt få min porsjon.

Så jeg var litt nervøs da jeg satte meg ned til Girl Geek Dinner med temaet Ost og øl (og radiofrekvensidentifikasjon, men det er en annen historie).

Så hørte jeg noe fantastisk:

- Jeg likte ikke ost før, sa Sigrid Strætkvern, ølformidler og "stemningsskaper" hos Ringnes.

En dame som får betalt for å snakke om smak, var tidligere ostemisliker. Det finnes håp for meg også. Jeg kan også lære å spise som en voksen. Løsningen er - i hvert fall basert på Sigrid Strætkverns erfaring - å kombinere riktig ost med rikig øl.

Så fortalte hun at 80 prosent av smaksopplevelsen sitter i øynene, og at det er påfallende vanskelig å smake forskjell på mørkt og lyst øl eller på hvitvin og rødvin med bind for øynene.

Challenged accepted!

Jeg har nå notert meg følgende observasjoner om mine egne smaksløker:

Om jeg gjentar disse kombinasjonene ofte nok, vil jeg bli flinkere både til å spise ost og til å drikke vin uten å søle. Øl, ost, vin og bind for øynene er altså veien til voksenpoeng.*

(Enkelte vil sikkert hevde at alkohol og bind for øynene kan føre til flere overraskende situasjoner enn bare at Julie spiser ost, men igjen, det får bli en annen historie.)


Ølene (fra venstre):
Hoegaarden Wit
Ringnes Platinum
Jacobsen Dark Lager
Frydenlund Bayer
Leffe Blonde
Brooklyn Lager
Frydenlund Bokkøl
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Vellagret Jarlsberg
Selbu Blå

Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (rød chilensk)
Santepietre Pinot Grigio 2009 (hvit italiensk)

1 del øl (Frydenlund Bayer)
2 deler sukker
saften av en lime + evt litt finrevet skall
1/2 – 1 finhakket, røkt chili (chipoltles)
2 stjerne anis
Alt i en gryte, kokes til det begynner å tykne, settes kjølig. Bør oppbevares i romtemperatur, ikke kjøleskap.
Chipotles får du i velassorterte matvarebutikker, for eksempel Meny Ringnes Park. Du kan også røke fersk chili selv.

*Voksenpoeng: Du blir ikke voksen; du blir stadig voksnere. Det skjer ved at du oppnår voksenpoeng. Det er en bra ting. Å "bli voksen" betyr at du slutter å oppnå nye voksenpoeng (les: utvikle deg og lære nye ting). Leken er over på alle måter, med andre ord.

Foto: Mariana, Julie R. Andersen

Posted by Julie at 1:30 AM | TrackBack

March 22, 2011

Stein fra glasshus

detgladevanviddÅ lese Elin Ørjasæters nyeste bok, Det glade vanvidd, føles som å lese hele arkivet til en blogg på én dag: Den er en samling relativt korte meningsbærende tekster hvis eneste åpenbare sammenheng er at de har samme jeg-person. Her er hva Elin mener om tårer, foreldremøter, psykiske diagnoser, cruise, kosmetisk kirurgi, vinterferie og telegiro (faktisk). Det er velskrevet, og - siden jeg i E24 til tider fungerer som Elins korrekturleser legger jeg merke til dette - med påfallende få språkfeil. Men etter noen sider har jeg en potensielt bitende kritikk klar: Hva er nå poenget med dette da? Man skal være ganske interessert i Elin personlig for å skjønne vitsen.

Dette blir imidlertid ingen bitende kritikk. For gradvis går det opp for meg at gjennom tabloide formuleringer og personlige anekdoter trykker Elin på et ømt punkt hos meg, et blåmerke jeg har sminket over så lenge at jeg ikke lenger kjenner det igjen når jeg ser det.

"Moderskapet er alle kvinners, også feministers, såre punkt. Stikk oss her, og vi er forsvarsløse," skriver Elin.

På dette tidspunktet - side 52 - har Elin presentert leseren for forskerkvinnen, næringslivskvinnen, grunderkvinnen og kvinnene som gråter (det vil si de fleste av oss, selv om det ikke gir oss mer rett i konflikter. Mer om det senere). Fellesnevneren er rollesjongleringen kvinner driver med.

Det er her tekstene kommer litt for nært ting jeg prøver å ikke tenke for mye på.

Jeg er vokst opp med en pappa som først var doktorgradsstudent (altså alltid opptatt) og så foreleser/førsteamanuensis/konsulent/skribent/blogger (altså fortsatt alltid opptatt). Og en mamma som var hjemme. Pappa jobbet 200%. Pappa var kanskje i Kina, kanskje i India, kanskje inne på hjemmekontoret - jeg hadde ikke helt oversikt. Pappa måtte ikke forstyrres fordi han skulle ta eksamen. Mamma kunne høre hvordan dagen min hadde gått på hvordan jeg åpnet inngangsdøren. Mamma sørget for at jeg hadde hjemmebakt brød i matpakken (amerikanere kan ikke grovbrød). Mamma farget klærne mine fordi ingen butikker solgte svarte barneklær og sydde kostymer uansett hva jeg ville kle meg ut som. Mamma var alltid tilgjengelig.

I A-magasinet svarer en leser på et intervju med Elin: "Hun tør å si at hun angrer på at hun valgte karriere fremfor barna, det er det ikke mange som gjør. Jeg er en firebarnsmor som har valgt barn og familie fremfor karriere, og jeg er lei av alle disse karrieremammaene som alltid klager på dårlig tid, rekker ikke ditt, rekker ikke datt. Jeg får alltid høre: "Så rolige barn du har, hva har dere gjort?" - Hallo! Vi er der for dem, de trenger ikke streve etter oppmerksomhet!"

Illustrasjon: postsecretOg når jeg leser sånt, får jeg vondt i magen. Jeg kan ikke være hjemme med barn. Jeg blir rastløs av å være i min egen leilighet én dag. På mange måter håper jeg at jeg blir som foreldrene mine, men jeg kommer ikke til å rekke å være som dem begge på en gang. Og hvis jeg måtte valgt i dag, ville jeg blitt som pappa når jeg blir stor. Fordi jeg oppriktig tror at å være hjemmeværende ville gjort meg deprimert.

Nå representerer foreldrene mine motsatt side av en skala der de fleste norske kvinner i dag befinner seg nærmere midten. Utfordringen min kommer til å være å finne en balanse mellom de egenskapene jeg beundrer hos hver av dem.

Og det er nettopp det jeg kommer til å ta med meg fra Elins bok: Hun innrømmer at dette er en utfordring. At akkurat disse problemstillingene er vanskeligere for kvinner enn for menn, og at selv om det er blitt bedre, er det fortsatt ikke perfekt.

Alternativt kan man si at bokens poeng er å finne på side 138, der Elin skriver "Det er en dyd å ta seg sammen." Boken er et eneste stort SKJERP DEG! til overfølsomme, hypersensitive, politisk korrekte mennesker med diverse vage diagnoser. Og til meg, som sitter her og bekymrer meg for en hjem/karriere-balanse som (potensielt) ligger mange år inn i min egen fremtid.

Og til Elin selv, for hun er heldigvis klar over det når hun sitter i glasshus. Hun skriver for eksempel at alt kan spøkes med, unntatt det hun selv tar seg nær av.

Stein fra glasshus var en mulig tittel på boken, og jeg mener fortsatt at den ville vært bedre enn Det glade vanvidd.

Kvinner som holder hverandre nede nettopp ved å insistere på at kvinner alltid skal holde sammen, kaster stein fra glasshus. Kvinner som vil bli tatt på alvor, men som likevel prøver å bruke egne tårer som argument i diskusjoner, gjør også det. Norske, høyt utdannede kvinner med god jobb og et godt familieliv som klager på at det er så vanskelig å være kvinne, sitter definitivt i glasshus - men hvem har sagt at glasshus er noe bra sted å være?

Jeg mener bestemt at jeg gjør langt mer for likestilling ved å gjøre jobben min uavhengig av at jeg er kvinne, enn ved å bruke store deler av min tid på å snakke om at det er vanskelig å være kvinne og gjøre jobben min. Her om dagen sa jeg til en gutt: "Jeg er så lei av å høre at jeg er undertrykket. Det er faktisk ikke så vanskelig å være jente."

Source: http://weheartit.com/entry/6987566Men det er befriende når noen innrømmer at det er vanskelig innimellom likevel: At det for eksempel gjør vondt å reise fra barna sine for å dra på jobb ("Biologi kan overvinnes, men det er ikke spesielt trivelig mens det pågår.") Det kan være sterkt når noen som vanligvis er beinharde på å skille person og sak tør å skrive hva de føler.

Det hele bindes sammen i siste kapittel, "Verden", der Elin hever diskusjonen hun fører med seg selv til et globalt perspektiv. Riktig nok ved å beskrive egne erfaringer med cruise-ferie, men poenget kommer frem likevel: Vi profesjonaliserer husarbeid, og leier inn praktikanter med midlertidig oppholdstillatelse til å utføre de oppgavene vi ikke vil gjøre selv. Så kan vi få tid til både karriere og barn, mens damene som vasker gulvene og serverer drinkene våre føler seg heldige om de ser barna sine to ganger i året. Alle vil ha hushjelp, ingen vil at datteren deres skal bli hushjelp, og likestilling kan dermed gjenninnføre klassesamfunnet i Norge, nå med en internasjonal vri.

Det tok meg et par timer å lese boken - og over en uke å formulere hva jeg tenkte mens jeg leste. Ikke fordi den gjør noe som helst forsøk på å være dyp, men fordi jeg ikke liker å innrømme at jeg er bekymret for å ikke klare å gjøre som mamma. Det er greiest når andre innrømmer sånt, så kan jeg bare lese det andre skriver. Så ja, boken er som en samling bloggposter. Men fra en blogg jeg ville ha fulgt med på.


Illustrasjoner: Aschehoug, PostSecret, acunat, lorenia (Creative Commons)

Les også:

Posted by Julie at 5:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 16, 2011

En gave til mine fans

Det er som kjent ingen skam i å Google seg selv. Man kan finne ut mye rart, som for eksempel at E24s nye publiseringssystem tydeligvis samler alle artikler med min byline på denne siden.

Riktig nok kaller systemet disse artiklene for "kommentarer". Da jeg underviste en dobbelttime i norsk for en førsteklasse på videregående denne uken, var jeg nøye på at det å skille mellom kommentarjournalistikk og nyhetsjournalistikk er kjempeviktig. Så norsk-elever: Ingen av disse tekstene er kommentarer.

Går du litt langt tilbake i arkivet dukker det også opp artikler jeg ikke står for. Jeg har ikke skrevet om at norske skuespillere er trege til å ta i bruk Twitter eller at Anne B. Ragde synes Dennis Storhæi er kjekk. De er skrevet av en VG-journalist og desket av meg,

Men ellers, hvis du er en av de mange (selvtillit er fint) som oppsøker E24 kun for å lese mine ord, look no further.

Men da går du glipp av mye bra. Er du en ordentlig Julie-fan, må du også sjekke E24s forside regelmessig. Jeg er tross alt også forsideredigerer.

Les også: Greatest hits 2010

Posted by Julie at 2:22 PM | TrackBack

February 3, 2011


My back-up hard drive stopped working today. It won't turn on, and I don't know yet if the data on it was lost. Naturally, it's a back-up hard drive, so anything important on it is also somewhere else. But that's not the point.

The point is that I feel lost.

This was supposed to be the little box where my photos from Paris and my journal entries from the university years are safe, even if (ok, probably when) my beloved laptop gives up on me. And then the back-up died first. That which was supposed to keep me safe, turned out to be weak.

When I was a little girl, my dad showed me a picture book about what happened to people who didn't back up their files. They were eaten by monsters.

This was probably not a children's story, but a brochure designed to sell back-up software. I still grew up to be something of a digital hoarder. I once saved a text message for three years, transferring it from phone to phone. My digital music collection is obsessively organized, even though I usually just use Spotify. When a friend dropped his laptop on the floor, I asked him: "You had back-up right?" He told me that was the worst possible thing to say, and I felt quilty about if for weeks.

Now this loss, mere months after losing my RSS archive Bloglines, has made me paranoid. Are our files never safe? Between the cloud, where I am at the mercy of companies located on the other side of the world, and local storage, where technology just randomly dies, should I just learn to live archiveless? It's not like I want a physical archive.

And what if my laptop chooses this week to break down for ever?

If I were suddenly without files, would I be ok?

All the decent Paris photos are on Facebook. My best writing is published or e-mailed to someone. Most of my music is available either on Spotify or on some torrent site. I would mourn some of my favorite photographs and a few specific journal entries and writing experiments. And when the sheer inconvenience and missed deadlines blew over, I would be fine.

When I looked through the journal entries just two days ago, I found old documents that I have deleted from their original place on my laptop. Forgotten details of events that made such an impact on me that I wrote short story-ish accounts of them. Texts I liked enough to cut and paste from other blogs. Collages of party photos. Digital memories.

I don't need them, but I'm glad I looked through them. And just like I want to be able to read my journals from grade school (those notebooks are in a cardboard box in my parents' attic), I want to be able to read today's unbloggable personal writing ten years from now. Call me a hoarder, but at least I mainly hoard words.

So developers who want to make something upscale and sophisticated: Don't make me an app. I want the digital file version of those super secret bank vaults where they store treasure in the movies. I want to be able to tell someone: guard these files for generations; my great-great-grandchildren should be able to look at these photos and read these words.

Images: 1 and 2

Posted by Julie at 9:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 15, 2010

Christmas music countdown: Why I don't want anything for Christmas (and I'm probably not getting you anything either)

I have no interest in spending any time, money or energy on Christmas gifts this year.

Usually I really enjoy it. I've never understood people who find Christmas stressful. Hosting parties, giving gifts or preparing turkey isn't work, unless you're getting paid for it. If it feels like slave labor, stop.

So this year, I'm stopping. The gift thing, that is.

No, I have not turned into a Grinch. I LOVE giving gifts. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing that I figured out what you wanted - even better if I figured it out before you really knew yourself - and got it for you. If I love you, and I make you happy, that means I won! I mean, don't we all feel that way?

The problem is, this is less fun at Christmas, because you're expecting it. And because you'll give me stuff which I may enjoy, but which I I could easily have done without. Our money could be put to better use in some other way.

Christmas gifts make no economic sense. You spend money on something someone else doesn't want, and you get something you don't want in return.

I must have been about ten when I first thought about this. My family had recently moved from one apartment in the US to a much, much smaller one in Norway, and I realized that I owned too much. I wanted space for Christmas. "Everyone just gives each other STUFF, with no regard to what they're supposed to do with it," I thought.

To be honest though, I wanted some stuff too. I was ten, with no budget of my own. Whenever I wanted something, I would hint and hope until the next gift-recieving opportunity (September or December). Gifts were my main source of income.

These days, I work for a living. And I try to save as much of that money as possible for a future when I potentially won't be working, because I'll be at grad school or travelling or just being an unemployed journalist. I don't want to take my savings and convert them into candles, soap and Christmas ornaments. Or into something I might love, something special because it came from someone special, something so special that I have to take it with me wherever I move, which means I can never just leave, because I love too many THINGS, and they won't fit into my suitcase.

There are plenty of traditional Christmas songs that in all seriousness claim that gift-receiving (yes, only receiving. I've never given Santa anything) is the point of Christmas. Santa Claus is coming to town, for one.

Here's the original Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt, plus a remix. This Christmas song, about a woman's wish list including an apartment, a car and a fur coat, is actually not the most materialistic, over-the-top disgusting Christmas song ever. This is. ("On the 8th day of Christmas my baby gave to me: a pair of Chloe shades and diamond belly ring. (...) How I love him for his generosity." Ugh.)

No, out of all the songs about Santa and gift-giving, Santa Baby is my favorite. Because it's a joke. Flirting with Santa Claus so that he will get you jewellery is so disgusting that it's funny.

I tend to prefer the songs that suggest partying is the point of Christmas. And I don't mean eggnog, Jingle Bell Rock and mistle-toe as an excuse for drunken hook-ups. I mean spending time with friends.

This philosophy led my friends to pool our gift-giving budgets and go out to dinner together last year instead of exchanging gifts. We're doing the same thing this year. I love it.

Because really, all I want for Christmas is you. If you want to give me something, give me memories. I can take them with me even if I want to travel with just a carry-on. Take me out to dinner. Or sit down on a couch with me, (possibly open a bottle of wine) and give your full attention to our conversation for a few hours. Or invite me over and introduce me to your favorite movie.

Or give me a list of your favorite books and enough Amazon dollars to choose one of them for my Kindle.

Or give me money. I will think of you gratefully when your contribution becomes 5% of my plane ticket to Cape Town, or half of a book I want to read. Or a tiny little fraction of tuition at grad school. And because I'm more relaxed and less poor, when we're out windowshopping and you look at some item for longer than necessary, I will get it for you. And I will feel like I won.

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December 12, 2010

Christmas music countdown: What are you doing New Year's Eve?

I have no idea what my answer to that question is, and last year that would have been a serious source of stress. This year, I hope to somehow combine friends and champagne. And follow my rules for a successful New Year's celebration.

Here's four versions of today's song on Spotify and one on Youtube.

Image source

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December 7, 2010

Christmas music countdown: Scary Christmas

Exactly one year ago, the Christmas countdown was Carol of the Bells and the rest of the Home Alone soundtrack. I blogged about how this movie probably contributed to my lifelong fear of burglars, and my recurring nightmare that someone would climb in through my bedroom window.

Then I casually mentioned that when a burglar finally did climb in through my bedroom window, it was almost a let-down. There was no soundtrack, for one thing.

That post got some people very worried, so I thought I should tell you the whole story this time. Here goes:

In 2008, I went to a big summer party. The kind that involves sitting around at picnic tables in someone's enormous back yard, drinking wine and having long, conversations that seem to flow from topic to topic effortlessly until it seems like you've turned the minds of everyone around the table inside out and explored all the random associations and interesting opinions and funny stories you can find there. By the time you reach that stage, it is much too late for anyone to go home, so the house is filled with overnight guests, and I was one of them.

So technically, when I woke up in the middle of the night to find a man halfway through the bedroom window, it wasn't MY bedroom window. It was the window in the room where I happened to sleep one night. Which in retrospect probably made the experience less scary overall; I didn't have to sleep in that room the night after. But anyway, less than an hour after going to sleep, I woke up to find a man climbing through the window. He was wearing a white linen shirt and carrying pink, plastic gloves. And he had definitely not been one of the party guests.

We stared at each other for a couple of seconds, both frozen in surprise. Then he said: "I think I'm in the wrong house."

"Yes, I think you are," I answered. He climbed out again.

And I started to drift back to sleep. I wonder what would have happened if I had just dozed off again. Maybe I would have woken up to a much emptier house. Or maybe nothing would have happened, and I would have believed for the rest of my life that this was yet another nightmare about burglars.

Fortunately, some small part of my brain was awake, sober and sensible enough to realize that this was not a dream. I got up, borrowed a bathrobe and walked around the house, checking all the rooms, making sure all the windows and doors were closed and locked. And then I made my way to the front porch, where my father and some other party guests were sleeping on mattresses. The man in white linen was standing over them, still holding the gloves.

When he saw me, he said: "Um... I'm the neighbor."

"No, you're not," I said, and then he started to run.

I woke my dad, and we ran after him.

If you had peered over the fence and into the back yard of this house at around 4:30 AM that night, you would have seen me running around in a white bathrobe, chasing a man in white linen pants and a white linen shirt, around white picnic tables with opened wine bottles and plastic glasses.  Behind me, still more or less asleep, my father followed. The chase probably lasted for less than a minute, before whoever-he-was succeeded (on his second attempt) to jump the fence.

My dad and I just stood there for a while, waking up. I'm very glad he was there, not because I was scared at the time, but because I know that the intruder was really there. Whoever he was.

If not for the gloves, I would have assumed he was a drunk guest at someone else's party, and that he literally did not know what he was doing. I mean, who breaks into houses wearing something that needs to be ironed? We didn't hear about any similar break-ins in the area. But the lying, the gloves, the fact that he didn't leave, the fact that he attempted to enter the house through a room that was always empty, except for that one night - it all seems like a badly planned, but still planned attempt to break in.

Which means that I can cross that off my list of experiences: I have chased away an intruder. And I've had a recurring nightmare come true. And I'm fine.

I haven't had that nightmare since.

Illustration source

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October 25, 2010

Investering i estetisk kapital

erwin blumenfeld jean patchett january 1950Tallet er 69.

69 minutter om dagen, en drøy time altså, bruker jeg på mitt eget utseende.

Jeg kom frem til dette etter at Mari Mikkelsens masteroppgave Fordi jeg fortjener det ble tema for artikkel i D2 og kommentar i E24. Elin Ørjasæter skrev: "Hver manikyr, hver morgensminke og hver shoppingrunde tar tid. Den tiden kunne kvinner brukt til å løse differensialligninger, gå på pub med kolleger eller til å lære seg et nytt fremmedspråk. Er det rart kvinner ikke gjør karriere?" Mari Mikkelsen lanserte ideen om at tiden vi bruker på utseende er investering i vår estetiske kapital.

Jeg reagerte som den selvopptatte nerden jeg er.

I en uke tok jeg tiden hver gang jeg pusset tenner, planla antrekk, (vindus)shoppet klær eller sko, sminket meg, klippet meg eller fønet håret. Og innimellom leste jeg Mikkelsens oppgave. Jeg leste om "the attractive woman identity" som det er vanskelig å legge fra seg, og hvordan estetisk kapital byttes i alt fra innflytelse over venners smak til rabatter fra fremmede.

Det er forsket såpass lite på dette, at jeg ikke vet hvordan jeg ligger an i forhold til andre jenter. Jeg kan imidlertid konkludere med at jeg brukte fra 33 til 110 minutter om dagen, i en tilfeldig valgt uke, på mitt eget utseende. Den uken var jeg hos frisøren, jeg kjøpte sko og jeg dro ut på byen to ganger. Jeg snakket om utseende med både gutter og jenter.

Men jeg brukte 0 minutter på å bekymre meg for hvordan jeg så ut. Jeg tenkte aldri "Nå føler jeg meg stygg." Utseendet mitt var aldri et problem.

Det er en scene i masteroppgaven som omhandler hvor komplisert det er å velge strømpebukser. Hvor undertrykket jenter er som bruker tankekraft, tid og penger på et ubehagelig klesplagg som kanskje vil gjøre at vi ser tynnere ut i festkjole, men som revner første kvelden:

"Med strømpebukser får man jevnere farge på bena, de skjuler merker og de holder figuren "på plass". (...) Jeg gleder meg til å ta den av, før jeg i det hele tatt har fått den på."

Jeg kjenner meg ikke igjen, og jeg tror denne scenen skildrer nervøse jenters jakt på anerkjennelse, ikke strømpebukser. Usikre mennesker finner alltids noe å bekymre seg for. Dessverre. Blir du lei deg av å kjøpe strømpebukser, sitter sannsynligvis problemet i ditt hode.

self-esteem(Her oppdaget jeg at kunne ha skrevet et helt innlegg om strømper og strømpebukser, men det får være grenser for hva jeg skal utsette leserne mine for.)

Media rettet mot jenter er stort sett basert på å skape usikkerhet som gjør at vi lettere faller for reklame fra kosmetikk- og motebransjen. Men jeg vil nå hevde at jeg fortsatt har fri vilje.

Jeg er lei av å bli fortalt at jeg må bruke mer penger på utseendet mitt for å i det hele tatt se akseptabel ut. Men jeg er vel så lei av å bli fortalt at jeg er usikker, uselvstendig, jålete og ikke minst undertrykket fordi jeg bryr meg om klær. 

Les også:

For beskrivelsen av uken, les videre.



MANDAG: 110 minutter

Jeg står opp supertidlig for å være på E24-desken kl. 07.00. I teorien ruller jeg bare rett ut av sengen, tar en brødskive i hånden og spurter mot sentrum. Men i virkeligheten dreier nesten hele halvtimen - fra siste snooze på vekkerklokken og til jeg går ut døren - om mitt eget utseende. Fra første klare tanke ("Har jeg en hårspenne et sted?") via påkledning og sminke, og til jeg tar på meg støvletter.

Etter jobb går jeg rett til frisøren ("Han andre deskeren trenger ikke klippe seg," påpeker Elin.). Der bruker jeg en time og mange hundre kroner utelukkende på håret mitt. Og etterpå vindusshopper jeg sko. Jeg er i skobutikken fordi jeg faktisk trenger gummistøvler, men grunnen til at jeg forlater butikkene tomhendt er at ingen av støvlene jeg fant var fine nok. Jeg vet at det er idiotisk.

På vei hjem lurer jeg på om jeg må legge inn sekundene jeg bruker på å gå bittelitt langsommere forbi en pen kåpe hos Karen Millen.

Heldigvis skal jeg ikke på treningsstudio for å bygge muskler eller bli tynnere. Kveldens trening er West Coast Swing, som riktig nok ser pent ut, men som jeg nekter å legge inn på utseendekvoten. Skifting og dusjing derimot... Jeg bruker omtrent to minutter på å legge frem klær til neste dag, før jeg legger meg.

TIRSDAG: 110 minutter

Det føles veldig offentlig forfengelig å sminke seg på bussen. Men en ordentlig jålete jente ville tatt en senere buss, sminket seg hjemme og kommet meget sent til jobb. På den annen side, hadde jeg ikke sminket meg i det hele tatt, kunne jeg brukt bussturen på The Economist, Dagens Næringsliv eller Sherlock Holmes (på Kindle), som alle ligger ulest i vesken sammen med foundation, mascara og speil. Det var vel nøyaktig det Elin mente.

Jakten på gummistøvler fortsetter, nå med ønsket resultat. 15 minutter og 699 kroner senere, virker ikke neste regnværsdag som verdens undergang. Jeg velger bort modellen til 999,- "Nå var du fornuftig," sier hun i butikken med et smil, og Grensen Sko får plusspoeng for hyggelige og ikke-pushy selgere.

Teller blogging om dresser som utseende-tid? Det handler strengt tatt mer om at jeg tenker på andres utseende. Men siden det er Suit Up Day i morgen, og jeg skal rett fra jobb til fest, tar dusjing + legge frem antrekk og smykker til i morgen ekstra lang tid.

ONSDAG 53 minutter

Tid jeg bruker på å takke for kompliment på eget antrekk - er det tid brukt på utseende, eller henter jeg da bare ut noe av det jeg investerte da jeg la frem antrekket i går kveld?

Mellom jobb og Girl Geek Dinner besøker jeg en venninne. Hun skal farge håret, noe vi bruker 25 minutter på. Det er tid brukt på hennes utseende, men det er også tid vi ellers kunne brukt på å snakke om musikk, litteratur eller teknologi (det vi vanligvis snakker om når vi møtes), så jeg tar tiden. Jeg lærer at det å farge noens hår brunt føles omtrent som å dynke hodet deres med sjokolade. Etterpå bestemmer jeg hvilket antrekk og hvilke smykker hun skal gå med den kvelden, noe som ifølge oppgaven tyder på at jeg har høy estetisk kapital.

TORSDAG 33 minutter

Jeg begynner å bli lei av å se på klokken hver gang jeg tar en t-skjorte ut av skapet eller pusser tenner. Tenker jeg mer på utseende denne uken enn ellers? Det er vanskelig å si. I dag går jeg med "Proud to be a girl geek"-t-skjorten jeg fikk kvelden før. Går jeg glipp av "viktigere" samtaler fordi noen kommenterer den? Eller det faktum at jeg går mye i skjørt og perleøredobber? Det plager meg i hvert fall ikke.

FREDAG 100 minutter

Ikke uventet bruker jeg tid på utseende før jeg drar ut på fredag kveld. Det som tar lengst tid er å vente på at neglelakken skal tørke. Når jeg sitter stille og hører på musikk, leser noen bloggposter og venter på neglene mine, er det samtidig en behagelig pause mellom jobb og fest.

LØRDAG 43 minutter

Kollektivet har dugnad, etterfulgt av drinker. Det er en selvfølge å dusje mellom skrubbing av baderomsvegger og miksing av gin tonic. Mascara er kanskje ikke så selvfølgelig så lenge jeg bare skal sitte i min egen stue med jenter som har sett meg i pysj og med gårsdagens eyeliner under øynene morgen etter morgen. Men det handler om å sette et skille mellom dugnad og cocktail hour.

Når et par drinker blir til vorspiel før vi skal ut, begynner vi å ligne på Mikkelsens masteroppgaveinformanter: En av mine samboere sminker de andre; alle prøver hverandres vesker; samtalene dreier seg om hår og øyenskygge.

Disse ritualene handler nok mer om å bli kjent med de andre jentene enn om utseende i seg selv. Greit nok, så lenge jeg slipper å snakke om fremmedes sykelige forhold til mat.

SØNDAG 35 minutter

Min eneste plan for dagen er å gå fra Frogner til Sagene for å sitte på min gamle stamcafé og lese. Alene. Men antrekket og sminken er fortsatt gjennomtenkt. Det er en selvfølge. Franskmenn vil si at jeg pynter meg av ren høflighet - til meg selv og verden forøvrig.

Vil du virkelig vite ENDA MER om mine jålete vaner? Da kan du lese om hvordan jeg shopper.

Posted by Julie at 4:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 12, 2010

My desktop, my world

"The reality of life today means that you can't always be there, and in fact you have to take that idea of that working space with you. Probably what's going to happen in the future is that the desk becomes more a state of mind than an actual physical place." - Alice Twemlow, design critic.

My Desk, to use the capitalization and idea presented in this video, is the laptop I'm blogging this from. It's a Toshiba Equium A100-299 to be precise, which I bought after some deliberation in the winter of 2007. It is the only computer I have chosen and bought myself (after growing up working on my dad's cast-offs and technical experiments), and I'm reluctant to upgrade or replace it because it is just right. The keyboard never makes my wrists tired. The Firefox browser is full of extras like Readability, Feedly and TreeStyle. My blog platform, Windows Live Writer (the only good part of Windows Live IMO), includes locally stored blog post drafts and an archive of potential illustrations. TweetDeck looks better on this screen than the bigger one at work or the smaller one in my purse. I use the photographs I'm kind of proud of as desktop backgrounds. I've really settled down with this computer.

I love the idea of working from anywhere, and my netbook, Evernote and Gmail make that possible. Changing the scenery (moving from my apartment to a café or from one side of the university library to the other) usually helps me beat writer's block or three-quarter curse.

However, the actual look of the physical workspace has never mattered to me that much. At work, the only real personalization of my desk is coincidental and functional: my big green Boston Globe mug, my Kindle, my notebook of daily to-do lists, all scattered around at random. The computer however, has to feel right, and the process of logging on to everything in the "right" order and arranging the programs I work with in their "right" places on my screens has become a routine I won't mess with.

A friend who trained to be a chef in France taught me the importance of mise en place, literally "putting in place" your ingredients and tools before getting to work. The phrase comes from French kitchens, but setting up your workspace matters, whether you're chopping onions, sharpening pencils or upgrading Firefox add-ons.

Related post: Multi-tasking and concentration

Desk - Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Posted by Julie at 4:29 PM | TrackBack

October 11, 2010

Utseendet - bortkastet tid eller investering?

Hver manikyr, hver morgensminke og hver shoppingrunde tar tid. Den tiden kunne kvinner brukt til å løse differensialligninger, gå på pub med kolleger eller til å lære seg et nytt fremmedspråk. Er det rart kvinner ikke gjør karriere? - Elin Ørjasæter i E24

Det forskes nesten ikke på hvor mye tid jenter bruker på utseendet sitt. I 2000 fant SSB ut at unge menn (16-24 år) brukte 38 minutter på "personlig hygiene, av- og påkledning" hver dag, mens kvinner brukte 55 minutter.

Nå har Mari Mikkelsen skrevet oppgaven Fordi jeg fortjener det om unge jenter i Oslo og ressursene de legger i utseendet sitt. Hun bruker begrepet estetisk kapital og omtaler dermed utseendet som noe kvinner investerer i, fremfor å bare bruke opp tid på.

Siden jeg er selvopptatt, ble jeg nysgjerrig på hvor mye tid jeg egentlig legger i utseendet mitt. Og siden jeg er nerdete, fikk jeg lyst til å faktisk sette tall på det. Det skal visst være flaut å fortelle om dette (og derfor underrapporteres det), men jeg bør i hvert fall notere det for meg selv. Mulig det er komplett uinteressant for bloggens lesere, men som sagt, jeg er en selvopptatt (og kanskje litt forfengelig) nerd.

Hypotese: Jeg tror jeg er over, ok da, godt over, SSBs gjennomsnitt når det gjelder tidsbruk.

(... men jeg stusser litt over at "avkledning" er et punkt. Hvor lang tid det tar, avhenger vel mest av hvorvidt man har en tilskuer....)

Alle bloggpostene mine om klær og mote og sånn er samlet her.

Illustrasjon: PostSecret

Oppdatert: Siden det er minst 1 leser som venter i spenning på dette regnestykket, kommer jeg til å publisere tallene.

Oppdatert igjen: Eksperimentet er avsluttet. Les om resultatet.

Posted by Julie at 6:18 PM | TrackBack

August 29, 2010

Six months left

"In March I found out that I had six months to live," Sarah Hitchin wrote in The Guardian in May 2007. As far as I know, the spring of 2007 was her last.

Strangely enough, I blogged about what I would have done if the spring of 2007 were my last. Back then, I concluded that I would like to continue as if nothing were wrong, meaning that I would be studying, even if there would be no exams: "I would gladly choose the stress of preparing for the future over the stress of not having one".

Sarah's description of her situation is strangely funny, and very down to earth. She didn't feel instantly wise. Three hours after being given six months to live, she was "bored with it" and wanted to drink some wine. The tragedy of leaving her partner behind is described in everyday details: "I must make sure he knows how to turn on the dishwasher before I go."

Just like me, Sarah worried about not having time to see the movies she wanted to: "I find myself thinking, "Oh, I must watch that film before I go", as if I am going away for six months and then I will be back." But of course my worry was hypothetical; hers was very real.

Since writing about my hypothetical death, I've used the idea of "six months left" as a way to check on myself. I've asked myself "Would I quit this job if there were only six months left?" "Would I drop out of school?" "Would I stay friends with these people?" If the answer to "Would I drastically change my life if there were six months left of it?" is "Oh, YES!" then, maybe I should change it, just in case.

And right now, I would stop saving money and use all of it to get my faraway friends to Oslo. I would give more compliments, because telling people they're great is more important than worrying that they will feel weird about it. Beyond that I wouldn't change a thing.

I guess that means I'm happy.

Image source: icanread

Posted by Julie at 4:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 20, 2010

Sør-Afrika gjennom taxivinduer

Å pendle i Sør-Afrika er å møte restene av apartheid.

STELLENBOSCH: - Jeg vil bare advare deg. Det er ikke trygt å gå på denne veien. Guttene går hit på vei til taxiene.

Damen med advarselen er i ferd med å åpne caféen sin i det jeg går forbi. Hun er hvit, guttene er svarte, og hun antyder at de angriper hvite jenter hver morgen på vei til jobb. Jeg vil avfeie advarselen som et typisk smårasistisk utsagn fra en paranoid hvit sørafrikaner, men hun har bevis:

- Det var et ran her i dag morges.

Jeg går likevel. I likhet med de potensielt farlige guttene, er jeg på vei til taxiene.


Taxi i Sør-Afrika er ikke privatdrosje, men delt minibuss som kjører faste ruter til ikke helt faste tidspunkter. I dag skal jeg ta taxi til Khayelitsha, Sør-Afrikas største township. Townshipene er boligområder opprettet under apartheid for å huse de svarte, som ikke hadde tillatelse til å bo innenfor byene.

Reisen starter i Stellenbosch, en liten universitetsby midt i Sør-Afrikas største vindistrikt. Langs gatene er eiketrærne fylt med ekorn og caféene fylt med studenter. Croissantene smaker som de gjør i Paris, og stemningen er som i en søvnig amerikansk forstad. I likhet med andre sør-afrikanske byer har Stellenbosch en township. Khayamandi sniker seg opp på Stellenbosch gjennom et hull i vinrekkene.

Avstanden mellom sentrum og township er der med hensikt: Det er apartheid-geografi. Under apartheid skulle mennesker med ulik hudfarge holdes fra hverandre. Det er nå 16 år siden frigjøringen fra apartheidregimet. Sør-Afrika er fortsatt et av landene i verden med størst forskjell mellom rike og fattige.

Offentlige statistikker viser at landets svarte majoritet lever et helt annet liv enn den hvite minoriteten. De tjener mindre, har høyere arbeidsledighet, bor i hus med færre rom, blir oftere syke og tar lavere utdannelse. Og de går og tar kollektivtransport, mens de hvite kjører bil.

- Ach, hvordan skal du komme frem?

De hvite i Stellenbosch går tilsynelatende aldri. Spør jeg om veien, svarer de med det sørafrikanske uttrykket for irritasjon: Ach, det er så langt! Ach, du har ikke bil!?! Ach, hvordan skal du komme frem?

Godt spørsmål. Tror jeg på advarslene, ber jeg om å bli ranet hvis jeg går eller tar tog. Stellenbosch har ikke kollektivtransport eller drosjer. Offisielt har de ikke taxier heller. Alle minibussene er piratbusser. Uten faste tider eller stoppesteder, er de bare privatbiler som lar fremmede sitte på. Jeg har ingen anelse om hvor og når de kjører, og jeg begynner selv å mumle ach.

Heldigvis beviser en venn av en venn at sør-afrikanere stort sett er fantastisk hyggelige: Han møter meg, følger meg til en rundkjøring, venter sammen med meg i en time og brøler KHAYELITSHA?!? til passerende minibusser.

- Get in, my friend! Roper en sjåfør tilbake, og jeg går ombord.

Til tross for uforståelig engelsk, virker mannen bak rattet hyggelig nok. Det er vanskelig å tro at han kunne vært en av sjåførene som kastet murstein mot biler og busser under Cape Towns taxistreik en måned tidligere. I Cape Town er det kollektivtransport, men den er ikke problemfri. Noen ganger bryter det ut krig mellom rutebussene og minibuss-taxiene, og passasjerer risikerer å få en murstein gjennom vindusruten hvis de velger buss fremfor taxi.

Passasjerene der jeg sitter nå, hører på mp3-spillere og ringer venner med mobiltelefoner. På gaten skal man ikke ha slike verdigjenstander synlige, men her er det trygt. De sender billettpengene fremover til sjåføren og fordeler vekslepengene mellom seg. En tur med privat drosje ville kostet 20 ganger mer.

Pendler mot strømmen

Vi reiser gjennom Sør-Afrikas kontraster. Fra motorveien har jeg utsikt til de dramatiske fjellene rundt Stellenbosch, og de staselige hotellene i tilknytning til vingårdene. Jeg ser også blikkskurene der townshipenes fattigste familier bor, og barn som spiller fotball på baner dekket av søppel.

Jeg pendler mot strømmen. Det vanlige er å bo i township og arbeide i sentrum. Khayelitsha er omtrent 20 minutter fra Stellenbosch og 45 fra Cape Town. Vel å merke hvis det ikke er trafikk. Mange skoleelever i townshipen står opp klokken 4 om morgenen for å kjøre til skoler i de rike forstedene.

Det er disse barna jeg reiser til Khayelitsha for å møte. De bruker flere tusen kroner i semesteret på skolepenger og flere hundre i uken på taxikjøring – alt for å gå på de gode skolene som tidligere var forbeholdt hvite.

South Africa3 176

Organisasjonen Equal Education, som organiserer kurs for ungdom i townshipen, bruker store deler av sitt budsjett på taxier. Barna kjører minibuss fra skolen til møter der de diskuterer hvordan skolesystemet skal bli mer rettferdig og mindre segregert.

Kollektivtransport for integrering

De siste taxiene kjører rundt 21.30. Det betyr at Khayelitshas innbyggere ikke kan dra på teater eller kino i sentrum uten å overnatte der. Det betyr også at medlemmer av Equal Education må kjøre meg hjem. Brad Bockmann er omvendtpendler som meg. Hver morgen kjører Brads lille bil ensomt fra et moteriktig, sentralt strøk til en av de fattigste delene av Khayelitsha. Joey Hasson er hvit sørafrikaner med bil og iphone – begge er verktøy han først og fremst bruker til å koordinere ungdomsmøtene i Equal Education.

I bilen snakker jeg med Brad og Joey om å finne veien ut til Khayelitsha. Mange jeg spurte om hjelp, svarte bare: - Du vil ikke dra til Khayelitsha. Hva skal du der?

Brad nøler litt før han sier:

- Unnskyld at jeg spør, men var disse menneskene hvite?

Jeg vet akkurat hva han mener. Det er vanskelig å vite hvem jeg skal tro på: den redde damen utenfor caféen, eller passasjerene jeg småprater med i taxien. Kunne skikkelig kollektivtransport ført hvite og svarte sammen?

Joey tror kanskje det. I det han parkerer bilen i mitt rolige, rike boligstrøk, sier han:

- For å nå det punktet der hudfarge ikke betyr noe, trenger vi helvetes mange taxier.

Denne teksten ble trykket i nyeste utgave av tidsskriftet argument. Den er basert på et blogginnlegg jeg skrev mens jeg var på reportasjereise i Sør-Afrika.

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August 19, 2010

It's (almost) Moose Cap Friday!

Tomorrow is Moose Cap Friday!

In the photo on the right, runway model Patricia van der Vliet demonstrates the Sacred Moose Cap Greeting behind the scenes at the Anna Sui Fall Ready-to-Wear show 2010. I see this as proof that Moose Cap is now high fashion.

From Vogue to my own little magazine: The latest issue of argument, where I've been an editor for the past year, was released just a few days ago. And there is a girl with Moose antlers on the cover.

Believe it or not, this was not my decision. Our cover illustration is artwork by Linda Soh Trengereid. You can see more of her Moose Cap art here.

But what is Moose Cap? It is a sacred tradition that began in the 1200s in the woods of Rondane. Or in the Oslo pub Café Sara one summer night back in 2008. Since then, every third Friday of the month is Moose Cap Friday.

In this interview my friends and I explain Moose Cap to the magazine The Monthly Moose. They have no affiliation with Moose Cap Friday, but since the name was so similar, they decided they needed to do a story about us.

MooseNovember09_109We celebrate with Moose Cap food (Moose meat obviously, but also Moose-shaped pasta), Moose Cap t-shirts (tm), politically incorrect jokes, and well, parties. And somehow, thanks to Moose Cap Magic even the founders of this tradition do not always understand, strange and exciting things tend to happen on Moose Cap Fridays.

Although wearing a t-shirt or Moose Cap is strongly encouraged, the most important thing is to honor the Moose, honor your friends and celebrate.

Oh, and you should join the Facebook group of course.


P. S. Moose Cap Magic means you will never be hungover the day after Moose Cap Friday. Seriously. Enjoy.

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August 9, 2010

Sommer i E24: Media, Mat og Mac

Ifølge min medsommervikar Øistein Svelle, kan min sommer i E24 oppsummeres med 3 M-er: Jeg skrev mye om media, mat og Mac.

Så som et svar til de som sier: "Jeg leter etter din byline på E24", her er noen av sommerens saker, fordelt på det som tydeligvis ble mine tre kjerneområder. Langt fra en fullstendig liste over sommeren, men nok. (Agurktid, du liksom. Det er alltid noe som skjer.)

Og til slutt en nyhet: Jeg fortsetter i E24 på fulltid utover høsten. Så heldig er jeg.

Illustrasjon: Opplever du agurktid, tilsett gin. Fotograf: Kenn Wilson CC




Selger verdens største bokhandel Barnes & Noble merker presset fra Amazon og Apple. Bokhandelens aksjekurs har falt 45 prosent det siste året.

- Google nærmer seg milliarden i Norge Google gjør stor suksess i Norge og omsetter for nesten 900 millioner kroner, viser anslag.

Tapte 280 millioner på ett år Sveriges største dagsavis gikk med stort underskudd i 2009, men det ser ut til at 2010 blir bedre.

- Vi gir ikke bort det vi kan selge Nyheter på nett trenger ikke være gratis. Noen nisjeaviser trives bak betalingsmurer.

Død Snø-distributør tjente millioner Euforia Film har snudd underskudd til overskudd, godt hjulpet av zombiefilmen «Død Snø».

Bedring for Bennett Etter et dårlig 2008, var 2009 bedre for reklamebyrået Bennett.

- Norge kan bli et foregangsland for nettbetaling I Storbritannia mistet The Times 9 av 10 lesere da de begynte å ta betalt på nett. I Norge blir det annerledes, mener analytikere.

- Tabbe av The Times Sakene på VG Netts forside skal fortsette å være gratis, sier VG-sjef Torry Pedersen.

The Times mister 2 av 3 lesere på å ta betalt Få har betalt for å fortsette å lese den britiske nettavisen The Times etter at den sluttet å være gratis 2. juli.

- Tjener 350 millioner dollar på Avatar James Cameron kan bli den regissøren i filmhistorien som har tjent mest på en enkeltfilm.

Nå stenges The Times Fra fredag 2. juli må du betale for å lese britiske The Times på nettet.


Hveteprisen faller fra skyhøyt nivå - Vi kan ha nådd toppen, sier analytikere, etter at hveteprisen har steget 83 prosent på to måneder.

Frykter ikke matkrise i Norge På verdensmarkedet har hveteprisen økt 80 prosent på to måneder - men den er fortsatt ikke så høy som i Norge.

Russisk tørke gir frykt for matkrise  - Verden mangler ikke mat, men informasjon, sier Peter Warren.

Regn rammer Lekter'n 42 prosent av overskuddet regnet bort i 2009.

Kaffe for 75,6 millioner «Baristokratene» selger stadig mer kaffe.

Selger mindre kaffe og kaker Kaffe- og kakegrossisten Pals merket finanskrisen, men har tro på fremtiden.

Halvert resultat for Ekebergrestauranten Restaurantkonge Bjørn Tore Furset er ikke bekymret, selv om Ekebergrestaurantens årsresultat er mer enn halvert siden 2008.

Hellstrøm-restaurant tapte millioner Bagatelle stenger med nesten 4 millioner kroner i underskudd.

- Det selges fortsatt mye cognac Bache-Gabrielsen leverer gode tall for 2009. (Min første av mange, mange saker om bedrifters årsregnskap.)


Hjelper konkurrentene med iPad New York Times skal la andre amerikanske aviser leie deres Apple-applikasjoner.

Frykter sensur fra Apple Hvis Apple mener innhold er «upassende», nekter selskapet å selge det i App Store. Forfatteren og teknologibloggeren Eirik Newth mener norske medier må passe på at de ikke lar seg presse til selvsensur.

"Apple er det mest arrogante selskapet på Jordens oveflate" Køer og tekniske problemer er god markedsføring. Er det vanskelig å få tak i iPhone 4, blir den bare enda mer ettertraktet, mener markedsføringsekspert.

- Apple mektigere enn Google Steve Jobs har tatt tronen fra Google, mener The Guardian.

- En vinn-vinn-vinn-situasjon Aksjeanalytiker Martin Hoff mener teleanalytiker John Strand tøver.

- 10 myter om iPhone - iPhone får ufortjent mye medieomtale, ifølge analytiker John Strand.

Posted by Julie at 10:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 7, 2010

Library fantasies

With one exception (the glasses) the photo below could basically be me in my living room. The more books in a room, the happier I am. But lately I've been spending my free time packing my books into boxes. I'm moving soon, and it is highly unlikely that I will have room for my entire library in my next home. Sigh. In between sorting books into labeled cardboard boxes (Books I Absolutely Must Put On Shelf In Smaller Apartment, Books I Will Reluctantly Relocate To Parents' Attic, Utterly Useless PoliSci Textbooks Whose Pages Can Be Used To Wrap Coffee Cups, Books I Stole From Dad Years Ago, Books I Really Should Return To Ex/Acquintance/That Guy/Despicable Creature Who Absolutely Does Not Deserve Them, Books I Should Just Carry Around In Purses Until I've Read Them Again etc.), I've edited a magazine article about BookCrossing. It's by Marit Letnes, will be published in the next issue of argument, and (spoiler!) contains paragraphs like:

"Books are special objects, carriers of culture, not to be thrown away lightly. Destruction of books is often taboo, as if they have a spirit. They are not like other commodities: They should be given, not just sold."

Hardly the right sentences for me to be repeating over and over in my head when I should be thinking about letting go of my books.

So I fantasize about libraries. So does @nongenderous apparently. Her tumblr is full of library pictures. Read/dream on...

I love the feeling of promise that comes with a library.

Aahh... No comment necessary. I could live here.


I could live here too, although it is a little too church-like. Who is the monk-like guy above the door? Where is this?

El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, a bookstore in a theater.

Nice. I have no idea where this is either.


Neil Gaiman's bookshelves. See more from his collection here.


The University of Copenhagen. One should consider the inspirational value of the university library when choosing a university.  (Photo by Bo Madsen, I think)

Oh... wow. Biblioteca Joanina, at the University of Coimbra. Too bad I can't read Portugese. (My own university library wasn't ugly, but I probably should have gone to Copenhagen or Coimbra.)

In the process of moving, this is a more realistic idea of what my library looks like.

(All images via nongenderous. Original locations and photographers are usually lost on tumblr, but if you know where the photos are from, please let me know so I can credit and link appropriately. And visit the libraries of course.)

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June 29, 2010

Generasjon Facebook - endelig en bok om meg!

Oppdatert: Diskusjonen om Generasjon Facebook, ikke minst hvilken musikk vi hører på fortsetter på bloggen Livet sett fra Villa Hoien

Jeg kunne umulig ha lest boken Generasjon Facebook eller Da alle skulle bli noe med media av Jon Niklas Rønning på et bedre tidspunkt enn nå. Nettopp ferdig med en journalistutdanning, fast bestemt på å bli noe med media, kjøpte jeg boken fordi jeg tenkte at jeg kunne blogge om den.

Jeg følte meg som hovedpersonen i Groundhog Day (Me, me, me also... I am really close on this one) da jeg leste beskrivelsene av hvordan "vi som vokste opp på 90-tallet" nå bor i bittesmå Oslo-leiligheter med litt for store prismelysekroner og drikker cortado på café mens vi diskuterer amerikansk politikk og våre egne skyhøye ambisjoner. Ja, jeg har oppdatert Facebook-profilen min for å fortelle at jeg er vÃ¥ken. Ja, jeg vet nøyaktig hva som kommer opp når man googler "Julie R. Andersen". Og når Rønning skriver "Det er merkelig hvor bekymringsløst man kan feste, dersom man føler man allerede har nådd selve livsmåletuot; eller "Hvorfor skjer det gang på gang - at vi på død og liv vil realisere de kreative sidene våre, men samtidig ikke setter av nok tid til å bli flinke?" eller "Du mangler inspirasjon, men skriver låter om det," tenker jeg: JA! Endelig har noen skrevet en bok om meg og alle jeg kjenner. I tilfelle jeg var i tvil, kunne Side2 bekrefte via en enkel test at selv om jeg strengt tatt er akkurat for ung til å skjønne 90-tallsreferansene, er jeg et medlem av Generasjon Facebook.

Mot slutten av boken står det: "Du vet du er en del av Generasjon Facebook når du irriterer deg over generaliseringer, og mener at du er mer unik enn stereotypiene som blir presentert i denne boka."

Den passet ikke. For de gangene det dukker opp generaliseringer jeg virkelig kjenner meg igjen i, blir jeg bare kjempeglad. Når jeg tar meg selv i å passe inn i en bås eller være en eller annen form for klisjé, er det underholdende, ikke flaut. Når jeg sitter på Café Sara med tre venninner og deler to flasker rødvin og én Klassekampen-artikkel om bibelreferansene i Tori Amos-tekster. Eller blir med på konsert med en liten gruppe nyutdannede designere og oppdager at vi alle matcher, fordi det er høsten 2009 og alle skal gå i mørkelilla og lysegrått. Eller retter på språket til foreleseren på Blindern og hører halve raden jeg sitter på hviske "den gang DA" i kor. Eller drar på "alternative" "indie" konserter med Regina Spektor eller Camera Obscura og blir overrasket over at halve klassen og alle jeg følger på Twitter også er der. Da tenker jeg "Nå er jeg så typisk _______(velg stereotyp selv)".

Det er egentlig rart at vi stadig får høre at vi skal være "oss selv", samtidig som vi alltid blir bedt om å beskrive oss selv ut fra hvilke båser vi passer inn i. De som vurderer å la meg bo i kollektivet sitt vil vite om jeg er A-menneske eller B-menneske, ryddig eller rotete, rolig eller ikke rolig. Jeg kan ikke svare på de spørsmålene. Det kommer an på.

Men jeg vet jo hvem jeg er, og jeg liker det når menneskene jeg møter er som meg. Ikke på alle punkter, men på mange punkter. Det er ikke fordi jeg er usikker eller trangsynt. Det er fordi jeg har opplevd å føle meg kjempespesiell og helt unik. Jeg har tenkt "ingen er som meg". Og det er ikke morsomt.

Har vi ikke alle vært der? Kanskje ikke, for jeg leser stadig intervjuer med folk som forteller at det er sykt viktig for dem å "være seg selv" og "skille seg ut". De som hele tiden må fortelle hvor spesielle de er, kan umulig være så spennende på ordentlig. Er du spesiell, kommer det frem uten at du trenger å bokstavere det.

Mitt slagord er kanskje det motsatte av det som står øverst i dette innlegget:

I like to think I'm like everyone else, but I guess that makes me unique.

Oppdatert: Diskusjonen om Generasjon Facebook, ikke minst hvilken musikk vi hører på fortsetter på bloggen Livet sett fra Villa Hoien

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April 20, 2010

Elgephant? Elemoose? An update from Cape Town

(Belated) Happy Moose Cap Friday from Cape Town!  (What's Moose Cap Friday? The answer is right here!)

The elgephant image is photographed by Tonje Olsrud, my Norwegian friend studying at Stellenbosch University, who came to meet me in Cape Town this weekend. At the Saturday morning market at Woodstock, Cape Town, I ate butternut quiche for breakfast and spent the day trying South African designer dresses, sipping the best espresso I've had on this continent and photographing antlers. I spent most of Friday driving from Cape Town to Cape Point, via penguins, baboons, elands (the closest South Africa gets to Meese) and the Cape of Good Hope.

South Africa 1181

South Africa 1157

South Africa 1126

Today it feels like the weekend was a month ago. Along with six other journalism students, I'm here to write a feature story, not to photograph animals and taste local food. Since the weekend's sightseeing and market-shopping, we've moved to Zebra Crossing Hostel to get cheap beds, free wireless internet and an even shorter walking distance to Long Street, where we mainly buy cell phone airtime and sandwiches. Our fantastic first week and a half of sightseeing is over. This strange new environment is like a cross between a newsroom and summer camp.

This post is dedicated to the fantastic Aina. Happy birthday! Wish you were celebrating it here!

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January 18, 2010

Fur issues

I've been thinking about fur lately. It's one of those trains of thought that simply will not go away, as if my mind were saying: "Write this down! Sort this out! Get to the bottom of this!" over and over and over. Especially after my mom showed up at my door with a rabbit fur vest for me.

Rabbit. My mother informed me yesterday that "We don't eat rabbit," because we used to have a live one. But that didn't stop her from buying rabbit fur the week before. And when she gave it to me, we had the following conversation:

"What's this, Mom?"

"It's rabbit."

"It's RABBIT!?"

"It's rabbit!!! :-)" (Yes, you could hear the smiley at the end of her spoken sentence.)

"But Mom, it's rabbit."

"Well, just tell people it's mink."


Now, with a few notable exceptions, I usually think my mom has good taste and style. Plus, the vest fits, it's warm, and I recently added "It's cold outside," to my list of all-purpose excuses. (The list also includes "At least I don't smoke." and "I was living in Lier when I did that.") But since I'm a nerd who sees over-analyzing as a hobby, my brain won't stop internally debating how to feel about this recent addition to my closet. So far, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. Wearing fur sends a message. It says: "I'm ok with the fact that what I am wearing used to be alive." But so does wearing leather and silk.

2. In many cases, fur also sends the message: "I spent A LOT of money on something that makes me look box-shaped." (This vest doesn't; the opossum coat my mom tried to make me borrow, does.)

3. Fur is expensive. So is foie gras, another luxury item associated with animal cruelty. "Sacrificing" the things you can't actually afford, is not sacrificing. I'm not going to earn any karma points by pretending that I don't have a car because of the environment. I don't have a car, because I don't need one and I can't afford one. I rarely eat fois gras, because I can only rarely afford it. I had never seriously considered buying a fur coat in the same way I've never seriously considered buying a pair of Prada pumps or a Burberry trench coat: I don't have that kind of money.

4. I've heard people argue that wearing fur, even vintage fur from the 30s, is an indirect support of today's fur industry, because it keeps the look of fur in fashion. These same people suggested wearing realistic-looking faux fur. How does that not keep the fur look in fashion? People who claim to have made up their minds are clearly just as confused as me. "Don't get me started on fur. It makes me so angry," one friend warned when I mentioned my difficult gift. I glanced at her new suede coat and changed the subject.

5.  Faux fur is not as warm. And it either looks nothing like fur or exactly like fur, and I think either one is screapy*. It is simply not an alternative in my opinion.

6. I've worn fur before (right), so I fail already.

7. Ideally, I would know the costs I inflict on the world whenever I choose to consume anything. How happy was the hen who laid these eggs? Exactly how did this turkey die? What are the working conditions of the people who made this cheap t-shirt? Was this imported fruit transported in the best way possible for the environment? Given that I don't know these answers, I am probably making the wrong decisions all the time, leading to uneccessary suffering. Who says that dying to become a fur vest is worse than dying to become Christmas dinner?

After reviewing this evidence, it seemed I had two choices, if I wanted my own actions to make sense. I could wear the fur. Or I could give up a whole bunch of my favorite things: all my boots, my preferred breakfast, my kimono, the only pyjamas I really like, traditional Thanksgiving - did I mention bacon?

So I wore it just long enough to realize a drawback I had forgotten: Rabbits shed their hair. So did my new vest. I will be returning it.

* Screapy: From scary and creepy. Something so stupid and off-putting that it kind of scares you. It's in Urban Dictionary now, but I made it up before I started this blog. I should mention that I was living in Lier at the time.

This is Part 1, in which an ethical dilemma turns up literally on my doorstep, in the form of a white rabbit fur vest. Continue to:

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January 7, 2010

In need of another vacation

I am exhausted, so I will let another writer update you on my life post-Christmas:

"I do hope the festivities were kind to you, Best Beloveds. I myself spent the duration lying on the sofa and sincerely hoping that someone would shoot me through the forehead. I find there's nothing quite as effective as Christmas for bringing out all those especially rampant viruses – the ones The Body of the self-employed person saves for rapid deployment as soon as a proper holiday is declared. This is, quite simply, revenge upon The Mind for the rest of the year's truncated nights, double-booked evenings, hair-tearing afternoons and rewrite-and-email-haunted mornings."

- AL Kennedy, blogging about writing for The Guardian

To use Kennedy's phrases and capitalization: my Body took a vacation, or should I say, went on strike, as soon as my Mind decided to take time off after handing in The Research Paper.

Since time “persists merely as a consequence of the events taking place in it” and I didn't do anything during the holidays, my Mind believes that no time has passed since December 17th. This means that there has been no Christmas vacation.

As a result of this injustice, my Mind is threatening to go on strike. So, if this blog becomes quiet for a few more days than I would like, it's because I have temporarily stopped thinking.

Posted by Julie at 9:31 PM | TrackBack

January 2, 2010

2009 according to Julie


Warning: This is a completely subjective memoir of the year that was. It's written off the top of my head. My head, so it's going to be self-centered.

First the soundtrack:

Not necessarily the best songs of the year, but the ones that will remind me of 2009 for years to come. There are plenty of older songs that fit that description too, but these songs were released 2009 or late 2008.

Then my life:

2009 was the first year I was a full-time journalist. That is, I went to journalism school and survived on various part-time jobs as a journalist and editor. I was no longer a receptionist, tour guide or pointe shoe salesgirl. I was a journalist. That's probably a milestone.

If I had been told a year ago that 2009 would lead me to court rooms, a strip club, a pscychologist's office, the make-up and rehearsal rooms of the Norwegian Opera House and more concerts than I've attended during the rest of my life combined, I would not have believed it. While 2009 was happening, I kept thinking "2008 was so much more interesting," but looking back over the past 12 months, a lot happened. Nothing as big as moving to Paris and back again or drinking coke in the Cambodian jungle, but a lot of smaller dramas.

2009 was a year of extremes. I stayed up all night and slept all day, and then I got a job that started at 6 AM. I worked constantly and then spent a month doing nearly nothing. I forgot to eat some days and wanted to do nothing but cook on other days. I have been very sad and very happy this year. I have been very efficient and very lazy. I have been very stressed and very relaxed. I have felt invisible and I have been recognized by strangers. In a way, 2008 was the year things happened, and 2009 was the year when the consequences caught up with me, good and bad. And I finish this year feeling better about everything. I don't think I have been all around happier at the end of a year for as long as I can remember.

Current events:

In the world as in my own life, 2009 was very much about dealing with the consequences of 2008: The financial crisis continued, the same talk of climate change was repeated in Copenhagen, and Obama became president and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Besides that I will probably remember the riots in Oslo in January. (Or more precisely, I will remember waking up to five missed calls from my very worried mom. I attended the demo on January 8th, then spent the rest of the night in a basement rock pub oblivious to the broken windows and tear gas above me.)

The Khmer Rouge was on trial, but the story was so buried in other stuff that even I forgot to stay up-to-date on what was going on.

In less violent news, e-books kept popping up in both the news I read and the news I wrote. In February I touched a Kindle for the first time. In May my first article at my journalism internship was about the upcoming release of big-screen e-book-readers. And this Christmas, Amazon sold more e-books than paper books.

Meanwhile print media suffered, particularly the Boston Globe. While I studied the dwindling circulation figures on this side of the Atlantic, it seemed friends in Boston could judge the sad state of print media by the number of crying editors each week. But was it really that sad? I optimistically blogged about the future of journalism (English translation below), earning a somewhat unfair reputation as the only Norwegian journalism student who wants to work online.

Everyone talked about Twitter this year. Many of them specifically to tell me that they were not on Twitter and did not see the point. I found Twitter useful. It helped me get a job, find stories to write, discuss stories I was writing and brag about stories I had written. In other words, I used it as a journalism tool. It's hard to explain to sceptics why and in what way I think Twitter means something, but I think it does. (Meanwhile everything you need to know about Facebook is still available right here, and still true.)

One hash tag I ended up using a lot was #krevsvar. It started as an outcry over one court ruling on online privacy. Then it turned into a general campaign to "demand answers" (or krev svar in Norwegian) from my country's politicians about IT politics, particularly piracy vs. privacy. I followed the story through the late spring and summer, and in the fall I attempted to summarize it all for non-IT-geeks.

IT politics ended up mattering very little for Norway's general election this year. Overall, I think we'll remember this election as kind of a boring one, no? I remember being more pumped about Cory Doctorow being in Oslo on the day of the election. Not that I don't care about political debates, but what were we really debating this time around? I argued that our political labels were outdated, coming relatively clean about my own politics in the process. But I still enjoyed the fact that general elections make political geekiness almost universally acceptable conversation. Until one sports-obsessed person pointed out that for every game, soccer fans reach the same level of excitement I get every fourth year when I wait for election results. (If you can relate to that, you might want to check out a soccer blog called The DA. Apparently, I might write for them sometime. How hilarious is that?)

End of the decade:

My earliest memory of the 2000s is my parents dancing. I don't remember the beginning of the 1990s. I talked to some friends who are only like two years older than me, and they mentioned the 90s as their defining decade: Although they have obviously moved on, the fashion, music and general pop culture of the 90s is the norm they started out with. I was only 13 when the new milennium began, and so I don't really feel like I can say anything about the 00s compared to any other time. As far as following culture, politics and fashion, I have really only known this one decade (and I don't even know the name of the new one). Before that, I was a child. But now I feel nearly old, because I find the following thought scary:

Some blog posts I wrote in 2009:

Welcome to 2010 everyone!

Image sources: ArtyDandy, ModelsAreSmart and xkcd

Posted by Julie at 12:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 17, 2009

Technical difficulties

I am experiencing technical difficulties. Meaning:

Which is why the Christmas countdown needs to take a break. I will probably still blog most of the Christmas posts I have planned, but I am just not able to follow the schedule right now. It is technically impossible with my current brain and computer situation.

Read and listen to the Christmas count-down up to the 14th + bonus reader suggestions here.

Posted by Julie at 5:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 1, 2009

December!!! (again)

That's a very cute PostSecret, although I can't relate.

My month of Christmas music began just fifteen minutes after the official start of December, as I was leaving a research interview just after midnight. I started with Tori Amos' version of "Have yourself a merry little Christmas." That's one of my favorite Christmas songs, and she's my favorite artist, so I obviously like her version. And it was fitting for a solitary walk to the bus on a quiet Monday night in Oslo.

As I write this, I am listening to her "Midwinter Graces" album for the first time - and I think I love it already, which really shouldn't surprise anyone.

I like starting traditions. Someone suggested to me the other day that I am living a kind of "Groundhog Year", in which I repeat the same actions every twelve months. Not true! But I have decided to do like last year and promise that...

... this blog will be updated every day of December.

Consider it a combined advent and countdown to the end of the decade.

Listen to Tori Amos' "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" on YouTube. "Midwinter Graces" is available on Spotify.

Posted by Julie at 1:36 AM | TrackBack

November 30, 2009

How to tell how stressed you really are


Doing household chores 
(See more Funny Graphs)

Not only are my dishes done, but the only thing I want to do these days is prepare food for lots of people. There was the Moose dinner, and Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving the sequel - in which I tried to get rid of leftovers and only succeeded in creating more leftovers. And now I find myself searching for reasons to invite people over for dinner. Or breakfast. Or cake. Or fois gras and champagne! (Stop, Julie, stop.)

Maybe I got used to having my Moose Cap Weekend guests around, maybe it's an early start to that Christmasy feeling, or maybe it's some kind of biological turning-into-a-grown-up-who-magically-enjoys-chores thing.

Or maybe it's that I have a research project to finish by December 17th, and a deadline right now.

Remember last year's "You know you're writing a thesis if..."?

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November 25, 2009

Contributing to society before 7AM - and bragging about it

bragging in the morning with comments

How? Why? I'll tell you later.

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November 16, 2009

The polka-dotted jumpsuit

I can't believe I wore this...


... to a party.

This is my mom in 1991. And this is me, in 2009...

185 Ugh. 80s parties.

It was fun though. Apparently my outfit distracted people from their conversations because it was just so... 80s. So over-the-top, polka-dotted, shoulder-padded and well, a jumpsuit.

To be fair, jumpsuits are back (Why?!?!). And this one is comfortable. And I like polka-dots. In moderation.

However, there was no moderation in the 80s. Which is kind of the only thing I respect about 80s fashion. It was crazy, but at least it wasn't as boring as 90s fashion. The 80s had bad taste, but the 90s had no taste.

Anyway, thank you Cecilie, for the photos. And thank you mom, for lending me the jumpsuit, shoes and pearl necklace - and for letting me wear whatever I wanted back in 1991.







Extra photo, in which I look terrified. Scared of my own outfit:




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November 11, 2009

Blogging - What's the point?

I was going to call this "Why you should blog - even if you have no readers", but then again, I do have readers. I mean, my aunt prints out some of my Norwegian-language posts so my grandparents can read them.

Seriously, I know that there are people out there who don't know me at all, but who are still reading, for whatever reason. And I blog for them as much as I blog for my friends. But mainly, I blog for myself.

I've been blogging since June 2005. When I started, people asked me: "Do you have time for this?" and I thought "Time? Blogging isn't time-consuming!" Since then, I've used this site as an (incomplete) digital archive of things I've been thinking about anyway. I think pretty much everything I've put here needed to be written. Rather than bookmarking interesting news articles, writing out the lyrics of a song I obsessed over in a journal (yes, I was once a fourteen-year-old girl) or simply talking about the same thing with every person I met, I could store my thoughts online. And as an added bonus, sometimes someone cared about it.

Continue reading for some examples of why I blog, and what blogging did to me.

I guess the more interesting question is: Why are you reading this?

I have blogged in order to...

And sometimes people cared...

I didn't plan for these reactions to happen. And while I'm far, far from being the kind of blogger who achieves money or fame from blogging, I can definitely say that blogging has changed my life.

In the winter edition of the Norwegian magazine argument, there will be an article by Kristian Landsgård about political blogging - and it's pointlessness. Kristian has been using his blog to test out ideas and thoughts that may or may not end up in his magazine article. And as we were discussing his work, we couldn't escape the irony: a political blogger arguing that political blogging is pointless? So why is he doing it? And this got me thinking about what the point of www.accordingtojulie.com really is.

So that's why I'm still blogging. Why are you still reading?

Posted by Julie at 3:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 8, 2009


What from your closet will you pass down to your daughter?

This is a dress which I think my grandmother made for herself in the early 60s. I actually don't know the story of this dress, but it was definitely hand-made, and I found it in the attic of my grandparents' house. It's modeled by my little sister here, in my kitchen which is probably as old as the dress. You can just glimpse the hand-me-down coffee cups on top of the espresso machine in the background.

Although the kitchen is due for some updating, I really hope the dress survives the parties I'm taking it to these days, so that I can show it to my daughter/niece/much younger friend sometime in the future. I think it's interesting how this dress just might work for the next generation, while my modern mass-produced clothes can barely stay together for a few seasons.

Given how much I enjoy my red, white and blue vintage dress, I hope some future girl will enjoy some of my favorite stuff. I'm generally careful with my clothes and accessories, so chances are good that someone will be able to wear them - or at least look at them and shake their heads over "2000s fashion" - years from now. I really hope my daughter likes...


... the dress my mom made for me this summer.

... skirts my mom made for me, like this one. I would hand down the top too, but I have almost worn it to death already, so that's not an option.

... my white jean strapless dress from French Connection, which I want to wear all the time these days - and my recipe for cookies.

... my bunad. My favorite outfit of all.


... my t-strap dancing shoes, my pearls, my grandmother's bracelet - and possibly my mother's lacy skirt and mink shawl, although they might get handed down to one of my nieces.


.... my polka-dotted skirt and my white trench coat, if they survive.

I've already saved my Miss Sixty jeans from junior high for this very purpose. Everyone had the same jeans back then, so they really tell the story of being fifteen in Lier in the very early 2000s. I've also saved the grey corduroy jeans I added lace and navy-blue stitching to a couple of years after the Miss Sixty's. I wish I still had my jean jacket with the embroidered butterfly "shoulder tattoo" from early high school, but I left that on a bus stop. I still have my bright pink jean jacket though. And there are white Buffalo platforms in my mom's closet - a fashion crime which must be shown to future generations. If we don't know history, we are doomed to repeat it. For the same reasons, I am saving that polka-dotted jumpsuit my mom wore in 1991. After all, I'm glad she's kept it so far.

Posted by Julie at 3:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 7, 2009


OR Alternatives to Ben&Jerry's OR How to stop yourself from murdering a man OR 11 ways to feel better

Remember that "traditional box of post-break-up Ben&Jerry's" I mentioned? Don't do that. Here is a list of things you can do that actually help if you want to feel better.

By the way, I'm deliberately posting this at a time when I don't need to follow my own advice: I am just really happy, with or without the tips below. But I have been editing this post for a long time, and everything on this list has been tested.

Listen to the right music. If you're like me, having the wrong song play in shuffle mode when you're already feeling bad can ruin your evening. Have your own version of a joyous playlist ready. The songs on the list should not remind you of whatever the Problem is, and they should probably not be happy love songs. In fact, you might want to include something really angry in there, just to get those feelings out of your system. It's kind of like when you have a song going through your head, and the only way to get it out is to actually listen to it. Alternatively, listen to something you've never heard before, either without lyrics or with lyrics you can't understand.

Curl your hair. If your hair is straight, use velcro rollers in damp hair with mousse and really strong styling spray (or L'Oreal StudioLine Indestructable Gel with so-called "Style Memorizing Effect For Bounce-Back Style"). Wear the rollers while you follow one of the next tips on the list, and then take them out to look like this:

Depression Moose Cap 040

Actually, this picture was taken the morning after I used velcro rollers. Bounce-back style indeed.

I find it hard not to smile when I look like this. I don't know if straightening your natural curls will have the same effect, but maybe it's just the drastic change. And it's not as cliché as cutting your hair short, like girls who desperately need a change always do in the movies.

Watch Hard Candy. A man brings an under-age girl he met in a chat room, back to his apartment and has a few drinks with her. He then wakes up to find that she's drugged him and now he's tied to a table, naked from the waist down except for a bag of ice, and she's standing over him saying she wants to do some "preventive maintenance". The plot can also be summed up by this photo. Important: if you're a guy, don't watch this. It is Not Safe For Life.

If you're not THAT angry, and you'd rather just laugh, watch Hot Fuzz. It is really, really, really, really funny. As in I laugh hysterically every time I see it. And added bonus: the only couple who are happily in love are decapitated. (I don't condone violence BTW. When someone stamped on my foot on purpose in a club, while wearing stilettoes, I hid in a coat room rather than punch her. And three minutes of No Country for Old Men left me rubbing my throat for about a week to check if I was still breathing and not being strangled by the chain between someone's handcuffs. But this is a good time for a violent revenge fantasy. Just make sure your visual entertainment is violent, NOT your real-life actions.)

Plan a party. Everyone says keep busy, and this is a good way to do so. Plus, it gives you a reason to clean your apartment, wear something that makes you look amazing and surround yourself with friends. Which brings me to the next tip:

Surround yourself with people who know you're amazing. It's an obvious one, but it should be on the list. Make sure you have a few allies in this party-planning process. People who know that you can't handle negative stress or not having enough guests. People who will not ask you where your date is or randomly not show up or leave laughably early to go home with their boyfriends. If you have pets or younger siblings who look up to you, hang out with them more than usual. Little creatures who think you invented being awesome are exactly what you need right now.

Make new friends superficial coffee-drinking buddies. The best part about these new people is that when they ask you how you're doing, they don't want an honest, detailed answer. Find a brand new acquaintance who thinks your life is perfect. Force yourself to keep up that illusion for as long as you can. It's not fake, it's therapy: Smiling and focusing on the positive is good for you. You can always share your deep, dark secrets when you've known them for a few months.

Dress really, really well. At times like this, you should at least make sure you look great. Dress up just a little more than necessary for any occasion. Enjoy the compliments. Notice the stares. (Also, there is always designer lingerie on sale somewhere. This is the right time to buy some. The Problem has no idea what he's missing.) If you feel ugly, follow these tips.

Be rude. If you're angry, be angry. If you're sad, be sad. How upset you are is up to you. It is not up to anyone else, or to any unwritten rules. You can (and should) pretend to be ok some of the time, for your own sake, to distract yourself. But don't officially tell people who are supposed to care that you're ok until you are. Because they will believe you too soon. And never, ever pretend to be ok for the sake of the person or people who hurt you. Forgive them for your own sake, not for theirs.

Go to concerts. And to the movies, and the opera, and the theater and restaurants. Experience! Remind yourself that the world is an interesting place to be.

Flee the country. Ideally, if you're the right age, go to Ufton. You'll be surrounded by cheerful, British theater people who hug you. A lot. And you'll learn new things and make new friends and one day, you'll just realize you're over him. At least, in my experience. But seriously, travel. It could be a long weekend visiting a friend who lives an hour away by train or actually moving to another continent. I don't think I've ever regretted going somewhere else.  

If none of these work, and it's been longer than say, a month, go to your doctor. Life is not supposed to be this hard.

P.S. If a break-up is the issue, there are more specific tips for that here.

Posted by Julie at 5:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 29, 2009

argument: hjem

argument er nå lagt ut som pdf her.

I høstens utgave har jeg skrevet om både nerdepolitikk og hjemlengsel. Andre har skrevet om brevduer, palestinske flyktninger og hvorfor depping er nyttig.

Dessuten er det uvanlig mye om feminisme og lignende spørsmål i samfunnsseksjonen. Det skulle man ikke trodd, siden det er den første utgaven der jeg offisielt er samfunnsredaktør, og jeg synes feminisme er litt vanskelig, på grensen til bare slitsomt. Jeg synes likevel det var verdt å trykke tekstene: Blant annet er det en skribent som lurer på hvorfor hun egentlig skal ta "guttejente" som et kompliment, når hun ikke kan kalle gutter "jentegutter". En annen kjefter skikkelig på sine forelesere, som deltok i sommerens feminismedebatt på en tåpelig måte.

Hver utgave av magasinet har en temadel, og denne gangen er temaet "hjem". Derfor er slippfesttemaet (tidligere slipsfest) "syklubb". Mest mulig hjemmelaget, altså. Jeg planlegger hjemmelagede cookies, kjole sydd av farmor og skjerf, sokker og smykker laget av mamma. Syklubbfest må vel også være en fantastisk anledning til å drikke te med gin.

Gin in teacups, and leaves on the lawn...

Posted by Julie at 1:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 21, 2009

Halloween inspiration

This shouldn't come as a surprise: Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. I didn't really celebrate last year - huge mistake. This year...

Halloween Inspiration

My costume/outfit is a work in progress, but that's the beginning of an idea. Main photo is my sister in her tutu, and that white face is from Marc Jacobs, via Style.com.

Make-up videos from MissChevious below.

Posted by Julie at 12:04 PM | TrackBack

October 16, 2009

Moose Cap Friday

It's Friday! Moose Cap Friday! Happy Moose Cap Friday!


Huh? I've been wishing you all happy Moose Cap Friday for months now, and if you don't know me in real life, that must be confusing. If you care. (You should.)

Moose Cap is a monthly tradition which my friends and I have been celebrating since July 16th 2008. The third Friday of every month is Moose Cap Friday, a cause for celebration. If we host big parties, we try to plan them on Moose Cap Friday, because that Friday is already reserved for friends and parties. If I haven't been able to meet Aina on Moose Cap, we've at least sent each other self-portraits where we do the Moose Cap greeting. And on the sixteenth day of the seventh month, we got together and ate a great Moose dinner - even though July is not Moose season for other Norwegians.

I have friends who think this tradition is annoying. Ok, other peoples' inside jokes can be a pain. That's why I'm re-publishing an interview of the founders of Moose Cap (that would be Aina, Eivind and myself). It's not an inside joke - it's a serious tradition. Spread the word, spread the tradition, and as we say in the interview: "honor the Moose, honor your friends and celebrate."


THE MOOSE CAP DAY - by Hanne Melgård Watkins

Originally published in the September 2009 issue of The Monthly Moose:

The Moose. National animal of Norway, and the emblem of the monthly magazine you now have between your hands. These diverse areas are not the only two in which the moose is in use: If you like mooses (meese?), the list of possible paraphernalia is as good as endless. The humble moose is depicted on everything from underwear to postcards; there’s moose sausage and moose –skin vests; moose-branded brandy and antlers to be bought for walls and mantelpieces. Given that the antlers are a moose’s most striking feature, it is not surprising that among the many moose souvenirs available the Moose Cap is perhaps the most popular. Did you know, though, that there exists a separate tradition for the Moose Cap? A tradition not based on selling funny headwear to tourists, but instead on respecting an ancient time when the moose was a highly esteemed animal here in Norway, imbued with magical properties? Our Monthly Moose reporter Hanne M. Watkins contacted the co-founders of this tradition here in Oslo:  Julie R. Andersen, Aina Skjønnsfjell and Eivind Blackstad Hackett.

Moose Cap founder Aina demonstrating an alternative Moose Cap greeting. 

Could you tell us briefly how this tradition came about?

The story of Moose Cap Friday began in the 13th century,  when a community in Rondane considered Meese to be sacred animals. For these people, the punishment for killing a Moose was death. One day, Lars and Jon were hunting in the woods and Lars accidentally killed a Moose. This was obviously a tragedy for the two friends, but Jon came up with a brilliant plan. He removed the antlers on the dead Moose and placed them on his own head, thus creating the first Moose Cap. He said: "The sacred Moose did not die. I was killed - tragically - but the Moose took my place." Since the people believed - rightly so - that the Moose had infinite powers, it made sense to them that this Moose could take Jon's place in the community and speak the language. Today we celebrate Jon's genius idea, and the powers of the Moose, both represented by the Moose Cap.

And does this mean you have to wear a Moose Cap every day?

No! Moose Cap Friday is every third Friday of every month, and that is when we celebrate. While not required, it is however, strongly encouraged to wear a Moose Cap or other paraphernalia, such as for example the Moose Shirt (tm) during this celebration. Still, the most important thing is to honor the Moose, honor your friends and celebrate.


How do you follow the Moose on other days?

There's the Moose Cap greeting - making Moose antlers with your hands. In the name of good fun, it is common for followers to share the belief that any topic could be subject to comedy and jokes. So we encourage a certain degree of un-pc-ness. The Moose is not an uptight animal, so why should we be? Also, on the 16th day of the seventh month we eat Moose. This is the greatest annual celebration for followers of the Moose. We ourselves discovered the powers of the Moose for the first time on July 16th 2008, at Café Sara.

Moose Cap Founder Julie demonstrating the greeting.Eat moose? What about the capital punishment?

The tradition has evolved. There is always the matter of ingesting the awesome power of Moose. We are working on a new "I can't believe it's not Moose" for vegetarians, and Moose-shaped pasta from IKEA is a great alternative or side dish. However, being vegetarian is so politically correct. The straight-up truth is that it Moose tastes f***ing awesome.

So just to recap (haha), when does this mean the next Moose Cap Friday is?

September 18th 2009. And the next one after that is October 16th.

Thank you for sharing this special story with us!

Now that you’ve read about this little known but important tradition of Norway, let all your friends know! Then you can go forth and acquire Moose Caps together, thus carrying the tradition onwards into the future. Hope to see you next Moose Cap Friday, wearing your antlers high and proud!


Posted by Julie at 9:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 23, 2009

Deadlines and drama

My life has been crazy these past couple of weeks. "Deadlines and drama" - that basically says it all. I have told people "I'll call you next time I have five minutes", and then literally not had five minutes for days. Which is why I haven't updated.

I have been writing a lot, but for school and argument, not for the blog. In fact, even some of my blogging was not actually blogging. My Norwegian rambling about wanting to go back to college was a school assignment which will be published in argument.

In the New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd writes that "Blue is the new black". Apparently, women all around the world are getting sadder. We're all "in a funk" to use her expression. Unfortunately, I think she's right about this: Being a young woman can be really, really difficult sometimes.

Not that I think being a man would be all that easy either. In fact, many of my friends seem to have been in some kind of funk lately, but maybe for us it's more about being at that age where our decisions are more important than before. Hard work for little or no cash combined with concerns about what to do with the future - that's life for me and most of my friends. Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I'm supposed to do with the next part of my life, now that journalism school will be over soon. And that constant feeling of "I should really be working towards my "next big thing" right now" isn't all that up-lifting.

Despite it all, I know I'm happy these days. Because when I'm walking home from school, listening to Camera Obscura's "French Navy", and I have to stop myself from dancing, I know life is basically good.

Posted by Julie at 8:26 PM | TrackBack

September 9, 2009

My sister's confirmation - and some thoughts on photography


When I learned to write, I stopped drawing. I was clearly never interested in creating art; I just wanted to tell stories. Communicating through written words was so much more efficient than creating images.

I've found out that my single favorite thing about my new camera is that I can show people what I'm seeing, not a washed-out copy of what was there a few seconds after I saw something interesting. When technology works, it removes all the excuses. With a faster, more adjustable camera, the only thing left to worry about is finding something to show people.

And while I'm nowhere near being a photographer, acting as one for my sister's confirmation a couple of weekends ago was fun. Not only does being the photographer allow you to walk around during long dinners and get the best seats at all times. The dramatic traditional Norwegian dresses and the soft light from all the pink candles were a challenge to get right - and good practice.

Confirmations are a big deal in Norway, beyond the religious aspect. Traditionally, the ceremony marks the start of adulthood. In fact, we have secular confirmation ceremonies simply to celebrate the growing-up aspect, without the actual "confirmation" part. My sister's ceremony was religious. It was also the first time she got to wear her bunad, or traditional Norwegian dress. My mom, my sisters and I all have bunads from Valdres, but my bunad is a different style than theirs.

In the photo above, my sister is chasing after me between the church and our family's house on the next island over from the church. We lost our driver, and I got the chance to take even more photos of her - until she decided she was tired of my paparazzi tendencies and wanted to steal my camera.


The Norwegian mafia


My sister, Jenny, right after her ceremony.

Konfirmasjon_082 Konfirmasjon_083

She's joined the mafia too.


On important days, it's easy to forget how beautiful our neighborhood is.


I have a strange kind of love for this photo. It's just so obvious that my dad made a really terrible suggestion just as I took the picture. My sister is clearly all "Dad, I'm an adult now, and this is my day." My mom is really much prettier than this.


See? Much prettier.


Everything in life should be pink.



From left to right: Me, my mom, Midi the dog and Jenny.

Posted by Julie at 11:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 4, 2009

Der jeg bodde før, var det kunnskap i veggene

Jeg savner Blindern.

"Hvorfor?" Spør min far.

Min far lever av å holde forelesninger i den nye BI-bygningen på Nydalen. Arbeidsplassen hans ble spesialdesignet som det ideelle sted for kollokviegrupper, diskusjonsbasert undervisning og fruktbare møter mellom næringslivet, forskere og studenter.

Bygningene jeg hevder å savne ble spesialdesignet som billige 70-talls murklosser.

Min far spiste en gang lunsj med meg i kantinen til en av disse klossene. Da fortalte han meg at det hullete trekket på stolen han satt på var selve beviset på hvor lite Norge verdsetter høy utdannelse.

Men min far er også pappa, så nå prøver han å forstå mine følelser.

Jeg påpeker at den kantinen blir pusset opp i disse dager, og så prøver jeg å sette ord på hvorfor jeg savner mitt tidlige studiested.

Jeg kan ikke si at jeg savner falleferdige kantinestoler med hullete trekk. Jeg har ikke egentlig noe behov for å stå i kø utenfor biblioteket fem på åtte for å kunne slåss om en plass på en for liten lesesal uken før eksamen. Og man skal være ganske sprø for å savne taggingen på doveggen.

Samtidig er det nettopp det jeg savner.

Toalettene på Universitetet i Oslo brukes som veggavis. Her publiseres sangtekster, debattinnlegg om feminisme og integreringspolitikk, kjente og ukjente sitater, karikaturer og utdrag fra Ringenes Herre. Det finnes uformelle spørrespalter der studenter gir hverandre hjelp med eksamensangst og kjærlighetssorg.

I Melbourne har noen skrevet mastergrad om doveggslitteratur, så jeg er kanskje ikke helt sprø likevel. Men det er ikke doveggene i seg selv jeg savner.

Jeg savner livsstilen som fører til doveggslitteratur.

Jeg pleide å stå opp så tidlig som jeg orket (ikke så tidlig) og så være på skolen så lenge jeg orket (til ganske sent). Jeg studerte etter den velkjente osmosemetoden: Var jeg under samme tak som så mange bøker og professorer, kunne jeg ikke unngå å lære noe. Kunnskap sivet inn i hjernen min som vannmolekyler gjennom en membran, så lenge jeg var innenfor universitetets murvegger.

Osmosemetoden er ikke tull, for du skal jobbe hardt for å unngå kunnskap på Blindern. Pausene mine ble tilbragt med kaffe og mennesker som fortalte Aristoteles-vitser og sa "Dette er sub-pareto-optimalt," i situasjoner der andre sa: "Så kjipt." Vi grep enhver anledning til å dra på foredrag og paneldebatter om alt som potensielt kunne være lærerikt. Og hjernen tok tydeligvis ikke pause på dobesøk heller.

Når jeg nå besøker disse lokalene, kan jeg nesten høre at hjernen reagerer: Whoosh! Det kan være lyden av tomhet, men jeg velger å tenke at det er hjernen som forbereder seg på kunnskapsoverføring direkte fra bygningene.

Selvfølgelig er doveggene enda et bevis på at Norge ikke verdsetter utdannelse høyt nok til å gi studentene rene lokaler å studere i. Men de er også tegn på at studentene oppholder seg i disse lokalene likevel; at det er mange som ikke bare møter opp på forelesning og så går igjen, men som tenker og lærer og nesten bor på universitetet.

Jeg forteller min far at jeg i dag pekte på samfunnsvitenskapelig fakultet på Universitetet i Oslo og sa: "Det er der jeg bor." Og så måtte jeg rette det til: "Jeg mener, det var der jeg studerte. Før."

Det er ingen senere arbeidsplasser eller studiesteder som har fått status som et ekstra hjem. Til det har de alle hatt for nymalte vegger.

Posted by Julie at 1:42 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 25, 2009

How to be a parent for teenagers

Ingar sent me a link to an article called "5 steps to understanding teenage girls". I talked to my mom on the phone a couple of days after reading the article, and we talked about her own parent-frustrations.

My mom isn't frustrated about teenage girls. She's frustrated about their parents - specifically the way other parents talk about their teenagers. When my mom claims teenage girls aren't monsters, parents react either with "You don't know what we're going through. Your daughters follow the rules." or "You have no idea what you're talking about. You think your daughters are following the rules? Puh-lease!"

By the time my youngest sister turns 20, my parents will have spent 15 years of their lives being the parents of teenagers. The article from Ingar and my conversation with my mom both got me thinking: What did my parents do right?

First of all, my parents know better than to listen to the worst advice. For example, when there was some newspaper/magazine debate about reading teenagers' diaries and text messages to check on what they were up to, I told my parents that I would never, ever, forgive them if they invaded my privacy that way. I think I was about fifteen, and I kept a very honest journal. Which they better not have read.

(Shortly after this, my dad set up a blog for me, so he could legitimately read some of my thoughts. Pretty sneaky.)

I've been an ex-teenager for a couple of years now. Looking back, I never felt like my parents were ruining my life. We fought, but I never fundamentally thought of them as enemies. In fact, I would say that my parents and I have had more serious disagreements before I turned 13 and after I turned 20 than during those supposedly difficult teenage years. Which brings me to my most basic tip for being a good parent for teenagers: Stop imagining that those seven years are so very different from all the other years of your lives.

I think that by the time your children become teenagers, they should know the following:

Really, that's it. Start the supposedly awful teenage years with mutual trust and half the job is done.

Beyond that, be consistent and predictable when it comes to rules - and within the ground rules, be flexible and reasonable. I usually knew what to expect from my parents. I also feel like my parents communicated the difference between what was really unacceptable and what was just not recommendable. For example, lying about my age and sneaking into clubs was something I got away with. Taking drugs while at those clubs would not have been ok. I've stayed home from school because I didn't feel like going - with my parents' permission. But not caring about school at all, or cheating on a test, would have gone against their values, which I think would have been different.

The point is that I felt we had a shared understanding about what the limit was. Sometimes I went beyond that line, and crossed over into unacceptable, they-better-not-find-out-about-this territory, but I always knew that was what I was doing. I think that kept me in check a bit; it kept me from going too far.

In the comments to the article, "Former Teenager" wrote:

I was pretty wild from 16-18 (sex with older men, smoking, taking ecstasy at weekends in nightclubs and bunking off school whenever I knew I wouldn't get caught) though had the good sense to keep very schtum about it as my parents were quite strict... although I now realise she knew about the majority of it, worried about it and monitored it quite early on and never believed my lies and ommissions.

Her 'talking' about this stuff with me wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference to my behaviour but knowing where her tolerance levels were absolutely helped keep me in check. I would never have dared get pregnant, fail an exam, need my stomach pumping or get caught playing truant. As a result I got fabulous A level grades, a good degree from a good university and now have an excellent career and an eminently lovely and sensible man, despite my teenage high spirits.

A bit of wildness does teenagers no harm provided parents are there to set firm objectives, maintain order and pick up the pieces every now and then.

In other words, don't underestimate the power of "My parents will be so disappointed in me." That thought has kept me from doing some pretty stupid stuff.

Throughout my teenage years, I perfected my defense for the day when my parents would be really, really disappointed in me. It varied, but followed this basic idea:

Mom, dad, I'm not pregnant. I've never been arrested, I've never taken illegal drugs, and I don't smoke. I've never committed any serious crimes, and my grades are still good. But please, don't try to make me stop __________. Because I probably will continue to do so anyway. And you should be glad that's all I'm doing.

I never needed to say it.

Usually, the blank was filled with some variation of "going to parties with people who do things you don't want me to do". But as it turns out, my parents trusted me to be able to be in a potentially risky environment without putting myself at risk. (Or they just had no idea what I was really up to, but I'm going to assume my parents are smarter than that.)

The point is that if someone wants to for example start smoking, it's really hard to stop them. I've tried and failed repeatedly. When I wanted my friends and family members to stop smoking, I didn't have the resources parents have with their kids. I couldn't lock them in their room, for example. But locking up children is usually frowned upon, even though that's really the only way to forcefully stop someone from breaking the rules.

Which brings me back to mutual trust and shared understanding of rules: I think my parents knew they couldn't stop me, but they relied on me to stop myself. And that was good for me.

I can just hear the other parents saying: "Yeah, but they're not all goody two-shoes like you,", and I could probably write a whole separate blog post to answer that kind of comment. But any parent who thinks I was born "a nice girl" while their own children are actually impossible, simply does not get it.

The point here is that while "My parents don't want me to do this." may deter some teenagers, it isn't really a genuinely good reason not to do something. You need to teach them why drugs/cheating/lying etc. are bad in the long run. If they want to do something, and they can't see for themselves that it's bad for them, then you can't stop them by force. 

And beyond that, remember that your kids are growing up. That's kind of the whole idea of being teenagers: they are no longer children. More and more of their world is separate from your world, and more and more of their problems have nothing to do with you. The plus side: It might not be your fault. The minus side: It might be completely out of your control.

I'll finish this with another comment from below that same article:

I've always thought that if you expect trouble with teenagers, that's what you get. Too many people batten down the hatches and prepare for war with a giant list of 'Don'ts' before anything's even happened.

It's important to like teenagers... my daughter's nearly a year old and people say 'Ah, but wait til she's a teenager', and you know what? I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm well aware, though, that maybe I was lulled into a false sense of security - there was no door slamming and squawking with the three of us in our teens, but I still don't think we were that exceptional. Our parents trusted us not to do anything stupid, we paid them back by not doing anything (too) stupid, and they didn't make a fuss over things that weren't worth it.

- Claudia Conway

Posted by Julie at 12:35 AM | TrackBack

August 21, 2009

It's a real live Moose!

Limbs Stortinget_178


Happy Moose Cap Friday to everyone!

This photo is from the Skansen Zoo in Stockholm. Julie and I went to Skansen just to see the Moose. A pilgrimage if you will. And after that, the usual comment to anything else we saw (like all the other animals, bakelser at NK and the night train back to Oslo) was: "Well, that was fun, but not everything can be a Moose."

Posted by Julie at 12:07 PM | TrackBack

July 21, 2009

Snart bryllup!


Nevnte jeg forresten at jeg er forlover? Og at jeg tenker på det hele tiden?

To av mine favorittpersoner gifter seg lørdag 25. juli! Det innebærer at dette innlegget er en pause i taleskriving, gavekjøping, kjoleprøving og pakkelistetenking.


Illustrasjon: Bill Frazzetto, Creative Commons

Posted by Julie at 5:40 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2009

Water color photography


Oslo by rain.

Photo taken from the top floor bar of the Oslo Plaza, where I retreated after an unsuccessful attempt to celebrate Moose Cap on the Opera House roof.

Posted by Julie at 9:39 PM | TrackBack

June 22, 2009

Piratjakten eller Hvordan jeg har det i praksis

Et litt utfyllende svar til de som spør "Hvordan har du det i Teknisk Ukeblad, Julie"?

Skal vi tro Twitter er det en merkedag for rettsstaten i dag. Delvis pga. meg.

I praksistiden hos Teknisk Ukeblad har jeg blant annet fulgt en sak om etterforskning av fildeling. I Teknisk Ukeblad har vi kalt den "piratjakten", men noen andre har oppkalt saken etter Max Manus, og Twitter bruker #krevsvar.

Piratjakten er en komplisert sak fordi den omhandler jus, IT, politikk (eller manglende politikk, egentlig) og tilsvarende ingredienser som gir nyheter "tyngde" (og dermed gjør dem "tunge").

Den kan likevel bli en viktig prinsippsak, og den har engasjert mange. Ikke minst nettsjefen her i Teknisk Ukeblad, Anders Brenna.

Kort oppsummert dreier det seg om advokatfirmaet Simonsen som etterforsker nett-pirater. Simonsen driver privat etterforskning, og det betyr at de ikke er regulert av lover slik politiet eller vaktselskaper er hvis de etterforsker noen. De har frem til i dag blitt regulert av en midlertidig konsesjon fra Datatilsynet.

Simonsen har bedt om å få utlevert ip-adresser der de mener det er grunn til mistanke om piratvirksomhet. Post- og teletilsynet åpnet for privat utlevering ved rettslig kjennelse i et enkeltvedtak 19. april 2009.

Nettleverandøren Lyse Tele nektet å utlevere kundeinformasjon. Stavanger Tingrett kom med midlertidig kjennelse om hvorvidt ip-adressene skulle ut. Det skjedde 5. mai, men kjennelsen er fortsatt hemmelig.

I dag har Datatilsynet bestemt at konsesjonen ikke fornyes. Piratjakten stanses, med andre ord. Og begrunnelsen er at saken ikke har fått nok politisk oppmerksomhet.

Simonsen skal klage. Saken fortsetter.

Jeg har skrevet flere artikler om piratjakten og laget
en oversikt over hele saken her.
Og en dag, etter at hele saken er avsluttet, kommer jeg til å legge ut en "bak kulissene"-bloggpost om denne prosessen.

Posted by Julie at 3:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 19, 2009

Happy Moose Cap Friday!

It's Friday... Don't forget your moose cap!

I probably won't be wearing one, because I will be celebrating here:

Paris 2008e 003

Posted by Julie at 5:05 PM | TrackBack

Thoughts after a fashion show

Despite not feeling all that well, I couldn't miss the fashion show from the graduating class of Esmod Oslo on Wednesday. And I'm glad I was there, since my friend Eivind B. Hackett won three awards, including an internship, money and the opportunity to sell his collection at the Oslo department store Steen&Strøm.

Slideshow from backstage and the runway

After attending a catwalk show in ballerina flats, I understand why catwalk models need to be tall. And wear incredible platform heels. Because catwalks are not always easy to see, unless you arrive early or have some good reason for being in the front row.

Speaking of heels, people who walk in them should know how. I won't judge the models at this particular show, because I know some of them were friends of the designers, and had never walked a runway before. But if you're a Top Model contestant for example, meaning you want to be a model, shouldn't you know how to put one foot in front of the other, even if those feet are on platform heels? It's just a matter of practicing.

Anyway, judging from my very, very limited experience, fashion shows work the way "exclusive" clubs do: It seems the inconvenience of the whole experience is supposed to add to the feeling of luxury and exclusivity. It's so incredibly cool that there isn't anywhere to sit, or even stand comfortably, and that the music is too loud to allow for any form of communication. You feel lucky if you're actually able to see the show over taller peoples' heads and shoulders. And it's really hot - actually, maybe they really do that on purpose so people will wear less clothing.

But despite all that, I loved it! Especially the fact that Eivind won a bunch of awards, which I've already blogged about in Norwegian.

Shoes from Prada, top photos from Fashionising, where you can also see catwalk models fall.

Posted by Julie at 4:06 PM | TrackBack

Hurra for Eivind!

Eivind B. Hackett vant Gullnålen-prisen, VOICE-prisen og Steen & Strøms Magasinpris på Esmods Diplomvisning på onsdag.

Det betyr at han nå er ferdig med moteskole og har vunnet jobb. Han fikk praktikantplass i ett år av Voice, og 10 000 kr av Steen & Strøm. I tillegg skal hans kolleksjon, "Villainwear", selges på Steen & Strøm.

Se bildeserie fra motevisningen og artikkel skrevet av min klassevenninne og Oslostudenten-kollega Linn Husby.

P.S. En liten gratulasjon til modell Melina også, siden hun er min tidligere kollega på LaDanse og siden hun var over gjennomsnittet flink til å gå med høye hæler.

Posted by Julie at 9:02 AM | TrackBack

June 13, 2009

Rant on technology and manners – the sequel


Part one of this rant was written way back in November 2007, when I was a college student, part-time receptionist and student government representative. I combined these duties with "a combination of secretary, therapist, event planner, student guidance counselor, tutor, mediator and research assistant to everyone I know", and to say that I checked my e-mail "like it was my job" would be an understatement. After ranting, I set up some ground rules for communicating with me, and they actually seemed to work. Or - more likely - writing a rant relieved my stress, and I was able to handle all the e-mails.



"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 behavior haven't caught up with the changes in technology."

- Julie Andersen (yeah, I'm quoting myself)

The actual rant

These days I am still a college student, but now I'm also a journalist at three papers, section editor of one (and soon to be two, fingers crossed) papers and maid of honor at a wedding less than two months from now. I don't feel all that busy, but I have no free afternoons/evenings this coming week. I'm busy in a good way, doing things I enjoy, but still.

My life works because I live in a world populated by adults who are comfortable with communication technology. Yammer, Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, Skype, my tiny computer, my cell phone and even Escenic (with all its faults) make my life easier.

I love being able to work from anywhere. That doesn't mean that I have to work all the time. The possibility of keeping in touch with old friends through Facebook doesn't mean that I compulsively check the (very annoying btw) Facebook front page. And yes, I do still read books, thank you very much, despite also reading blogs and online news every day.

See I have free will. And discipline. And I know how to make technology work for me.

And I assumed that other people my age in my part of the world did too. I am shocked to find Norwegian twenty-somethings who only check their e-mail every two weeks (oh and answering e-mails is just too much for them), who blame the distractions of the internet for their bad term papers (no, not as a joke, seriously), and who honestly see Facebook as nothing but a source of emotional trauma.

And I think: But you're adults! And you're young! Why do you fail at modern communication?

I know I'm preaching to the converted here. I mean, you, lovely reader, are obviously online, reading an enjoyable blog. You do not fail at life. And I'm not going to provide details to the various stressful situations I'm referring to. I just needed to leave my apartment today, and get some carrot cake and a coffee shop window seat and blog. So I did.

In conclusion:

When technology works, it removes all the excuses. You have to actually end the uncomfortable phone call, rather than hang up and blame it on losing the connection. You have to assume that people who don't call, e-mail, text, google, Facebook-friend or Twitter-follow you really aren't that into you. And you really need to get creative if you want a reason not to make a deadline.

So we're left with our own human faults. Our own lack of concentration, commitment or creativity. Let's just be honest adults about it.

Oh and by the way:

Pictures: MarkyBon CreativeCommons, MarieJo L'Aventure Lingerie, Nemi by Lisa Myhre

Posted by Julie at 2:19 PM | TrackBack

May 4, 2009

Første dag i TU!

Og etter litt teknisk rot og mange nye fjes å huske på, fikk jeg til og med publisert noe. Nemlig en artikkel om mulighetene for avislesing med e-bokteknologi.

Jeg har etterhvert skrevet mye om e-bøker:

Posted by Julie at 10:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 3, 2009

Geek alert

I realize I'm in danger of becoming a journalism geek.

The past week was spent writing my take-home exam in journalism. Normally I spend exams wanting to blog about anything other than what I'm writing my exam about. After each political science exam, I avoided anything poli-sci-related for at least 48 hours.

And what do I do when my exam is over this semester? I discuss journalism with my classmates over beer in the park, order a newspaper subscription, catch up on my journalism geek blogs and twitter (tweet? twit?) a journalism-related link.

I blog so much more about journalism than I ever did about international relations. There are many possible reasons for this: Journalism school provides more opportunities for non-boring diary-like blogging. I mean "Today I interviewed the minister of foreign affairs" is so much more entertaining than "Today I sat in the library for nine hours reading about foreign affairs". And since I'm actually acting like a journalist, I feel that I'm qualified to have opinions about journalism. Last year, I was just acting like a college student with some political geekiness.

The most important explanation is that journalism feels so right for me.

Not that there is anything wrong with being a happy nerd. But maybe I should take some steps to make sure I'm not boring. I have friends and readers who aren't journalists after all. And I don't think I should be a journalist/blogger who only writes about journalism/blogging.

I don't want to cross the line separating charming geek from anti-social dork.

But that won't stop me from hitting you with a journalism post right after I publish this little apology for being a geek.

Posted by Julie at 1:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 15, 2009

Back from Boston

Boston Globe_001

When I left Oslo last week, I had a big laptop and a tiny camera. I came back from Boston with a tiny laptop and a big camera. Expect more photos from now on.

I also somehow managed to catch up with a lot of friends, spend a day observing the Boston Globe, see a musical in Boston, return to the MFA, do enough shopping for a year, drink Sam Adams and eat swordfish, hamburgers and ice cream.

I really needed that week back in the States, and now I really need another one.

Photo: Julie Balise

Posted by Julie at 11:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 30, 2009


Just another meme. Get to know me.

what is your current obsession?

I'm obsessed with journalism right now. Really, that is the only thing on my mind. I can barely read a newspaper without mentally adding extra paragraphs and changing titles. At least a meme forces me to write something else.

What are you wearing today?:
Black skirt from InWear, and my mom's gray cardigan set. Accessorized with gray stockings over longer black stockings, two pearl necklaces, and purple nail polish. A pretty random outfit based on having limited options and time this morning, but I ended up feeling very professional.

do you nap a lot?
It almost never happens.

why is today special?
Today I was kicked out of a courtroom.

what would you like to learn to do?
I've been thinking lately that I should improve my computer skills, including learn more code for writing websites. And I would like to take better pictures. And be fluent in French of course. And learn a new kind of dance.

what's for dinner today?
I just ate cod, quinoa and fresh vegetables.

what's the last thing you bought?
Mixed salad in the cafeteria. If you don't count food, the last thing I bought was American Vogue, on Saturday morning.

what are you listening to right now?

what is your favourite weather?
Sunny spring.

what is on your bedside table?
A lot of books and jewellery. And if I'm sleeping, my cell phone.

what's your style?
Classic with a few twists. Usually skirts and heels if there isn't a practical reason not to. This is the kind of question I would have to either write a whole blog post about, or just answer in this boring way.

if you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Right now I'm thinking large (like enormous) apartment in the fourth arrondissement in Paris. I dreamt that I moved back to Paris last night.

favourite vacation spot?
Paris, Sydney, Boston or Prague.

name the things you cannot live without.
Friends and family. And let's be honest, the internet.

what person would you like to have in your hands right now?
Interesting way of phrasing that question... I'm missing a couple of very close friends though. I wish they were here right now.

if you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Only an hour? Right now? Well, Soluna and all Paris stores are closed, and Julie's at work. I'd go to Washington D.C. and hope Brittany had time for coffee.

which language do you want to learn?
Working on French. Khmer would be so cool though!

which countries have you visited:
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, England, Ireland, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Portugual, Australia, China, Thailand, Cambodia. Have I forgotten any?

what do you want to be when you grow up?
A journalist and/or an editor.

what is your absolute favorite dish?

Posted by Julie at 8:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 25, 2009

Studenter blir stadig fattigere

Studenter blir stadig fattigere, skriver Universitas. Her skriver de om budsjettet for 2003-studenter sammenlignet med 2008-studenter. Mens alt blir dyrere, går ikke studielånet opp.

Students get poorer every year - English version of the Universitas article

Jeg har tidligere skrevet litt om ordentlig fattigdom vs. studentfattigdom. Og jeg føler ikke at jeg lider noen nød. Men så tenker jeg meg litt om: For et par måneder siden hadde jeg 50 kroner på kontoen min. Jeg hadde ikke råd til å både ta bussen og spise middag.

Jeg døde ikke, fordi jeg har foreldre som bor i byen og gjør snille ting som å kjøre innom meg med brød og egg og månedskortpenger i slike situasjoner. Dessuten leier jeg leilighet av foreldrene mine, som ikke kaster meg ut hvis jeg utsetter husleien en uke. Så jeg er en fantastisk heldig student. Men man skal ikke være nødt til å leve på foreldrene sine hvis man ikke vil.

Jeg kunne latt være å jobbe, og heller bodd hos foreldrene mine til jeg ble 30. De ville sikkert ikke likt det, men det er en teoretisk mulighet. De fleste av mine amerikanske venner får utdannelsen, inkludert studenthybel, dekket av foreldrene. I Norge tilsier imidlertid kulturen at man skal være økonomisk uavhengig av foreldrene fra 20-årsalderen. Ikke økonomisk uavhengig av staten, men av mor og far.

Selvsagt handler studentøkonomi om prioritering. Grunnen til at jeg plutselig ikke hadde penger hadde imidlertid lite med øl, klær eller spesielt høy husleie å gjøre. Jeg mistet deltidsjobben, semesteret etter at jeg hadde gått på en av verdens dyreste privatskoler. 

En ting vil jeg i hvert fall ha sagt: Jeg har alltid vært heltidsstudent. Faktisk har jeg i de fleste semestre tatt mer enn normert antall studiepoeng. Og så har jeg solgt tåspisssko, blitt fotografert av japanere, tatt telefoner for konsulenter, servert bamsemums, redigert debattinnlegg og strikket grytekluter i tillegg.

Noen av de studentene jeg har møtt som virkelig behandler studiet som en heltidsjobb, er også noen av dem som jobber hardest ved siden av.

Problemet er ikke at studenter sulter hver dag. Problemet er at studenter merker svingningene mest. Jeg snakker ikke bare om finanskrisesvingningene, selv om det er deltidsansatte (ofte studenter altså) som sparkes først. Nevnte jeg hvorfor jeg mistet jobben?

Jeg snakker om at hvis man "har god råd en dag", fordi man har fått studielån eller første lønning på en bedre deltidsjobb, kan en student fremstå som sløsende. Vi har stort sett bare oss selv å bruke penger på. Men marginene er så små. Hvis man mister tusen kroner, eller hvis husleien går opp med 300 i måneden, kan det betyr forskjellen på om økonomien går rundt eller ikke.

Når jeg tilbringer mye tid med studenter, blir jeg vant til at alle er i den situasjonen. Vi tar ikke drosje alene, eller spiser ute, eller kjøper klær som ikke er på salg, eller spiser rødt kjøtt. Lavkarbo kan være så sunt det bare vil; jeg har ikke råd. Og det går jo an.

Vi tenker ikke over at vi har dårlig råd. I hvert fall ikke så ofte. I hvert fall ikke mer enn hele tiden.

Posted by Julie at 7:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Journaliststudenter på nett?

Jeg har blitt intervjuet av Journalisten etter at jeg skrev dette. Både Martin Huseby Jensen i Journalisten og Jon Reidar Hammerfjeld fra Dagbladet er overrasket over at jeg (og flere av mine medstudenter) vil jobbe på nettet.

Journaliststudenter vil visst ikke det. Det er i hvert fall oppfatningen i redaksjonene. Elin Ørjasæter har også kommentert manglende nett-interesse hos journaliststudenter. Og da jeg intervjuet Anders Brenna om økonomien i nettjournalistikk, sa han: "Folk på Twitter tror ikke på meg: Jeg forteller at jeg snakker med en journaliststudent som vil jobbe på nettet."

Da Hammerfjeld holdt forelesning for oss, sa han at aldri hadde møtt journaliststudenter med nettet som førstevalg. Da rakte heldigvis flere av oss opp hendene og protesterte.

Og etter to lykkelige uker som nett-journalist på skolens egne Journalen, føler jeg at i hvert fall noen på Høgskolen gjør så godt de kan. Og da mener jeg både forelesere som oppfordrer til linking, gjesteforelesere som tvinger alle ut på Twitter og medstudenter som (noen ganger) virkelig imponerer meg.

Så selv om det ville vært gøy å fremstå som den eneste fornuftige stemmen fra HiO, håper jeg egentlig på å se en gladsak i Journalisten i morgen: "Journaliststudenter vil! Dette ordner seg."

Under har jeg klippet litt fra en annen sak der Journalisten kritiserte journalistutdanningen.

Hvert år klek­ker de stat­li­ge jour­na­list­ut­dan­nin­ge­ne i Oslo, Vol­da, Bodø og Stavanger ut rundt 200 nye jour­na­lis­ter. Man­ge av dis­se øns­ker seg til «se­ri­øse og tun­ge» pa­pir­me­di­er, men de fles­te må reg­ne med net­tet som ar­beids­plass.

Opp­lys­nin­ger Jour­na­lis­ten har inn­hen­tet fra de fire jour­na­list­ut­dan­nin­ge­ne, vi­ser at den gjen­nom­snitt­li­ge læ­re­ren har drøyt ti års prak­sis i jour­na­list­yr­ket. Men det er også nes­ten ti år si­den sist ved­kom­men­de var ute i «vir­ke­lig­he­ten». I en tid da jour­na­list­yr­ket opp­le­ver sto­re og ras­ke end­rin­ger, hvor gode for­ut­set­nin­ger har læ­rer­ne til å for­be­re­de da­gens stu­den­ter på mor­gen­da­gens jour­na­lis­tis­ke ut­ford­rin­ger?


De to nett­re­dak­tø­re­ne Gun­nar Stav­rum og Tor­ry Pe­der­sen i hen­holds­vis TV 2 Nett­avi­sen og VG Nett, har mye pent å si om de nye jour­na­lis­te­ne og det de har lært på ut­dan­nin­gen. Men beg­ge stil­ler spørs­mål ved om ut­dan­nin­gen i til­strek­ke­lig grad re­flek­te­rer nett­jour­na­lis­tik­kens sær­trekk.

– For det mes­te er det de sam­me kjø­re­reg­le­ne som gjel­der, en­ten du job­ber på pa­pir el­ler nett. Men det fin­nes også noen kla­re for­skjel­ler, ut­ta­ler Stav­rum. Og pe­ker på at mens pa­pir­jour­na­lis­ten har en mer au­to­ri­ta­tiv rol­le, som for­val­ter av hele sann­he­ten, så fun­ge­rer nett­jour­na­lis­ten mer som en vei­le­der, som i dia­log med sine le­se­re ut­vik­ler sa­ken vi­de­re.

– Det kan vir­ke som jour­na­list­ut­dan­nin­ga ikke har tatt det­te inn­over seg, sier [Gunnar Starum, redaktør i TV2 Nettavisen].

[Fritz Brei­vik ved Høg­sko­len i Bodø] er uenig, men me­ner at ikke alt kan læ­res på sko­len.

– Vi for­sø­ker å ta innover oss det som skjer, men vi kan ald­ri gå for­an bran­sjen. Det er lett å vise stu­den­te­ne hvor­dan man skal lage en avis- el­ler tv-re­por­ta­sje. Men den nye jour­na­li­stik­ken, der sa­ke­ne ut­vik­les kon­ti­nu­er­lig, er bed­re å lære i prak­sis. Det er en del ting de ikke kan lære hos oss, sier Brei­vik.

Posted by Julie at 5:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 23, 2009

My apartment


These are a few of my favorite things.



Mons Stea2

Blackboard cupboard, where I leave messages for myself. Sometimes I wake up, check my blackboard and think: "That's why I'm awake. I have a bus to catch. Thank you Yesterday-Julie." Note the recipe box with colorful chickens, and the empty can of Angkor Beer, the national drink of Cambodia. (Photo: Mons Stea, March 2009)



Fest for festens skyld 026

Guest book, where other people leave messages for me. (Photo: Unknown party guest, March 2009)



Fest for festens skyld 047 

A complete breakfast includes eggs, bacon, orange juice, the internet and a friend. (Chili nuts optional. Espresso shot at the kitchen counter before breakfast.) (Photo: Julie R. Andersen, March 2009)



Depression Moose Cap 026

My favorite way to decorate a room: friends in retro clothing. (Photo: Julie R. Andersen, January 2009)



May 2007 027

Mmmm... Pie. (Photo: Julie R. Andersen, Pie: Elisabeth Neuhaus, both May 2007)



Bursdagsfest 150907 015

Bookshelves and friend. I remember when I had just gotten that extra shelf. It's full of books now. (Photo: Unknown party guest, September 2007)



Mons Stea1

The instructions in the kitchen should be pretty easy to follow. (Photo: Mons Stea, March 2009)


Chandelier photographer unkown, left on my camera after a party, March 2009

Posted by Julie at 11:21 PM | TrackBack

March 6, 2009

It never fails... but I might

streeetch... and then get to work!

Reaching for inspiration... Streeetch... And now, Julie, GET TO WORK!

It never fails: If I have actual journalism to do, all I want to do is blog. Despite the fact that I love what I'm writing right now (as in the column I'm writing, not this blog post), ideas for completely non-related blog posts pop into my head at every moment. So just to let you all know: if there is a blog entry here before 4PM today, that means I fail.

Photo: ad for Marie-Jo L'Aventure

Posted by Julie at 10:22 AM | TrackBack

March 3, 2009


Nyeste utgave av Oslostudenten er trykket! Den kan lastes ned i PDF eller hentes på Høgskolen i Oslo.

Dermed er jeg offisielt debatt- og utenriksredaktør i redaksjonen avbildet over.

Foto: Håkon Jacobsen

Posted by Julie at 12:20 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 10, 2009

General update

1. I have a new job as editor of the Opinion section of Oslostudenten, a monthly newspaper at my university college. The job includes being in charge of foreign correspondents. More on that later.

2. Starting May 4th, I have an internship at Teknisk Ukeblad. They're a weekly tech/IT/business/economics magazine, plus they have a website that doesn't annoy me. I'll be working both online and in print, and I'm looking forward to it.

3. I started taking French classes again. This means I'm spending a couple hours every Wednesday talking about current events with people twice my age. Basically nothing unusual, except it's in French.

4. I renewed my gym membership today. Go me!

5. I haven't slept a full night at night in 2009.

Posted by Julie at 10:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 23, 2009

Jesus blant buddhister

I sommer reiste jeg på tur til Thailand og Kambodsja, i regi av Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). I det nyeste nummeret av Argument har jeg skrevet en reiseskildring fra en av opplevelsene på turen, nemlig uken som frivillig på barnehjem utenfor Siem Reap, Kambodsja.

Jesus blant buddhister– en studietur i kjærlighet og blind tro

Da adventistparet Maddocks startet barnehjem på landsbygda i Kambodsja, var Gud deres eneste veileder.

Jeg er på gudstjeneste i en liten Adventistmenighet i Kambodsja.

Jeg trodde aldri jeg skulle være i denne situasjonen, men nå sitter jeg på et flislagt gulv, og sandalene mine venter på meg utenfor døren, sammen med en kaotisk haug med barnesko. Jeg er ikke vant til å sitte på gulvet, og gudstjenesten tar dobbelt så lang tid når alt oversettes fra khmer til engelsk. Men grunnen til at jeg ikke kan konsentrere meg er 12-årige Chann som kiler meg under føttene. Jeg gruer meg til å dra fra ham.

Jeg har vært på barnehjemmet til SALT Ministries i en uke. I dag er det lørdag, Sabbat, og vi skal si farvel.

Familie for livet

SALT Ministries er et bittelite kristent samfunn utenfor byen Siem Reap i Kambodsja – et land der 95% av befolkningen er Theravada buddhister. Hver morgen ser jeg buddhistmunker som får brød i Siem Reap sentrum. Men på SALT handler alt om den kristne Gud.

- Vi skal leve som fremmede i denne verden, sier Tim Maddocks til den lille menigheten. - Vårt egentlige hjem er i Himmelen.

Det bor ca. 140 barn på barnehjemmet. De bor i “husfamilier” som består av et foreldrepar og en gruppe barn – helst 16, men ofte så mange som 23. Det kommer nye barn fortere enn Tim og hans kone Wendy rekrutterer foreldre. Er det først 20 barn i en husfamilie, er det ikke aktuelt å flytte noen av dem. Barna skal få en familie på livstid.


- Uansett hvor bra du tror du har det, er det ingenting mot å ha Jesus i ditt liv, fortsetter Tim.

Det stemmer for barn som får hjem, skole, mat og familie samtidig som de blir introdusert for kristendom. Jeg tør ikke fortelle barna at jeg har det bra uten Jesus. Jeg har ikke noe passende svar når barna lurer på hvorfor jeg ikke synger “Praise the LORD!” med dem. Barna tror at jeg ikke kan teksten. Sannheten er at jeg etter to dager kunne alle barnas kristne sanger utenat og at jeg må stoppe meg selv fra å nynne dem på bussen.

Besøket i barnehjemmet er en del av en såkalt solidaritetstur arrangert av Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Vi er litt over 20 fra Island, Sverige og Norge som reiser i Thailand og Kambodsja for å se ADRAs prosjekter. Venner har lurt på hvorfor jeg drar på tur med adventister hvis jeg ikke selv er kristen. Stort sett har jeg svart: Hvorfor ikke? ADRA hjelper uavhengig av religion, og jeg har ikke oppfattet dem som misjonerende. Turen er en enestående sjanse til å oppleve en side av Thailand og Kambodsja jeg ellers ikke ville sett.

Ingen konkurranser

SALT, som ikke er formelt tilknyttet ADRA, begynte som misjonsarbeid. Gruppen vår har jobbet frivillig her i en uke. Vi har malt hus, undervist og lekt med barna. Jeg har vært datalærer: gitt barna e-postadresser og undervist i Word, Excel og Powerpoint.

Mens barna venter på hjelp fra meg, skriver de “Jesus” om og om igjen, med forskjellige fonter og farger. Barna oppfordres til å holde seg unna underholdning tilknyttet "denne verden", og til å spre kristent budskap til venner.

Det er tankevekkende å se barn som ikke kjeder seg, klager eller krangler så fort som norske barn gjerne gjør. Barna er positive til alt vi foreslår. Konkurranser blir de derimot ikke med på. Vi organiserer stafett og heier entusiastisk, men barna venter på sistemann før de krysser målstreken samtidig. De er ikke oppdratt til å konkurrere. Det beste er uansett lekene der ett barn samarbeider med én voksen. Er man en av 23 søsken, er en-til-en oppmerksomhet luksus.

Gud bestemmer...

Tim og Wendy kom til Siem Reap tidlig på 90-tallet for å drive et ADRA-prosjekt. På fritiden etablerte de en Adventistmenighet i byen. I januar 1996 var ADRA-prosjektet fullført. Paret hadde ikke lenger noen betalt jobb i Kambodsja, men de ønsket å fortsette misjonsarbeidet. Tomten der barnehjemmet ligger i dag, ble kjøpt billig mens Kambodsja fortsatt var et utrygt sted:

- Området skilte seg ut, forteller Tim. Det var nemlig den dårligste tomten vi så på.

Han følte likevel at det var her arbeidet skulle fortsette. Maddocks-familien flyttet fra senger og varm dusj for å leve så likt lokalbefolkningen som mulig. De drev misjon, oppæringssenter og helsestasjon. Området fikk en Adventistbarneskole. På helsestasjonen møtte Wendy foreldre som var for syke til å ta vare på barna sine – det var behov for barnehjem. Tim og Wendy tok kontakt med en familie som ville drive det, men familien ombestemte seg i siste liten. Maddocks-paret følte ikke at de kunne gi opp prosjektet. Dermed begynte de selv å drive barnehjem.

Jeg kaller det tilfeldig. Tim og Wendy kaller det Gud.

De fleste av Maddocks-parets setninger begynner med Gud. Gud bestemte at... Gud ville at vi skulle... Gud sørget for at vi kunne...

Også adventistene jeg reiser sammen med, er overrasket over Tim og Wendys sterke tro. Å bryte så drastisk med sin egen hverdag og stole så fullstendig på Gud er både imponerende og skremmende.

...og Gud gjør det mulig

- Det er rart; Gud snakker alltid til meg, aldri til henne.

Tim ler, og jeg ser forskrekket på Wendy. Hun ikke var helt sikker da Tim foreslo at familien skulle flytte fra en behagelig semivestlig livsstil i byen og ut i det som på den tiden var ødemark. Hun ba Gud om et tegn. Da fikk paret et brev fra noen de knapt kjente: “Jeg har tro på det dere gjør,” skrev mannen og sendte en bunke dollarsedler.

For Tim og Wendy var brevet tegnet det trengte – og ett av mange eksempler på at Gud ikke ber om det umulige.

Hele SALT-senteret er bygget “on faith”. Det vil si at senteret ikke har noen fast inntekt, men at Gud vil sørge for at det går rundt. Hittil har det gått bra – såvidt. Tim har underskrevet kontrakter for å få bygget nye hus uten å ha penger til å betale håndverkere. Og noen ganger ser han over budsjettet og vet at han bare kan mate barna én uke til. Men det kommer alltid pengegaver inn på kontoen når de trenger det mest. Senteret får penger fra ADRA, mennesker som tidligere har besøkt barnehjemmet, gamle venner og Adventistmenigheter over hele verden. Pengene er fra Gud, sier Tim og Wendy.

Idealistisk, men risikofylt

- Vi spør aldri om penger, gjentar Tim.

Jeg oppfatter gjentagelsen som en selvmotsigelse. Så får jeg dårlig samvittighet. Tim og Wendy er så sikre på at det de gjør er riktig, og at det vil gå bra med Guds hjelp.

Jeg tror imidlertid pengene kommer fra mennesker som blir rørt av en god historie og et inspirerende og uselvisk engasjement. Jeg tror jeg er her fordi jeg ville reise på en interessant måte, ikke fordi jeg er sendt av Gud. Og for meg er barnehjemmet beundringsverdig, idealistisk – og alt for risikofylt.

Barnehjemmet er såpass nytt at ingen barn har opplevd en hel oppvekst der. De barna som foreløpig har fylt atten og flyttet fra barnehjemmet, kom dit som tenåringer. Det er med andre ord ikke mulig å vite hvordan et barn som er oppvokst på SALT vil møte resten av verden.

- Tror familien din på Gud? spør 15-årige Vin Sarai meg.

Jeg svarer nei, uten å gå nærmere inn på temaet. Mange av barna har biologiske foreldre som ikke er kristne. Enten de har kontakt med dem eller ikke, vet de at den opprinnelige familien tror feil. Jeg lurer på om noen av barna tviler. Og om de lærer nok om verden utenfor. Det er flere samtaler jeg ikke tør å starte.

- Vi sees igjen i Himmelen

Det ville vært lettere å dra fra barna hvis jeg var overbevist om at det vil gå bra med dem.

- Sees vi igjen? Kommer du tilbake til Kambodsja? spør Sreyneang, en jente på 15.

Jeg kan ikke svare noe annet enn at jeg håper det, men at Kambodsja og Norge er veldig langt fra hverandre.

- Vi sees igjen i Himmelen, slår Sreyneang fast.

Fakta: Syvendedags Adventistsamfunnet og ADRA

Syvendedags Adventistsamfunnet er et protestantisk trossamfunn. Navnet kommer av fokuset på Jesu annet komme (advent) og hviledag på lørdag.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) er en uavhengig utviklings- og nødhjelpsorganisasjon som hjelper mennesker uavhengig av religiøs tilhørighet.

Da ADRA Norge ble etablert i 1993, var organisasjonen en videreføring av nødhjelps- og hjelpearbeidet som Adventistsamfunnet i Norge hadde samlet penger til over lang tid.

ADRA Norge organiserer solidaritetsturer for å bevisstgjøre og skape engasjement. De som reiser får se landene fra en annen vinkel og samtidig gjøre noe praktisk.

Kilder: ADRA og www.adventist.no

Tidligere publisert i Argument 1/2009
(Tidligere utgaver av Argument kan leses på pdf her.)

Posted by Julie at 12:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 22, 2008

Christmas traditions

I have a very low threshold for calling something a tradition. If I've done it once and enjoyed it, I'm willing to call it a tradition. (Those lucky enough to know about Moose Cap Friday know exactly what I mean.) Some of my Christmas traditions:

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December 20, 2008

Experiences of 2008

I finished the first semester of journalism school two days ago. I handed in my exam, and then I went to my old job and handed in my keys. Those thirty minutes gave me a wonderful feeling of finishing something and starting something potentially better. It was the feeling you're supposed to have on New Year's Eve. Sadly, there was no champagne.

I suppose this New Year's post should be posted on New Year's Eve, but really - who reads blogs at midnight on December 31st? And this way, if anyone wants to interpret the list below as a meme, they can.

2008 was not only the year I started journalism school, lived in Paris, visited Cambodia and Thailand and met a few people I hope I'll know forever. I did many things this year that I had never done before. 2008 was the year I first...

... swung by jungle vines

... actively celebrated International Senior Citizens' Day

... actively celebrated Moose Cap Friday

... got a full-body oil massage

... drank Fernet Branca

... drank sangria

... drank Coca-Cola

... happily referred to 10 square meters in a basement without a kitchen as "home"

... dated in French

... held a crocodile

... removed my bikini top at a public beach

... spoke words in Khmer

... interviewed two of the men I want to be when I grow up

... ran up and down the Champs Elysées singing along to an IPod

... ate frog

... moved to a city where I did not know a single person

... hid alcohol from grown-ups

... appreciated soup, tofu and veggie burgers

... slept in a mosquito net

... haggled over the price of paperbacks

... climbed 20 meters up a tree and jumped

... planted rice

... dipped my toes in the Seine

and more.

Posted by Julie at 7:53 PM | TrackBack

December 19, 2008

When I was your age, we had paper

Yesterday I left my keys in what was once the office where I worked as a receptionist. The company is relocating, and I will probably never again set foot in that building where I spent about an hour per day on average - and where I admit, many of my best blog posts were written.

Not only does the specific job I once had literally not exist anymore - there is no desk in the reception, no kitchen for making coffee, no fridge full of soda to organize. But for the past week, I have been doing another job for this company, and I don't think anyone will be doing that kind of job by the time I have children.*

I can just picture it:

When I was your age, people used to store information on paper. Today we know how dangerous fire is, not to mention the dangers of misplacing things without being able to search for them. But way back then, in the basement of the office builidng where I worked, years of paper documents accumulated. Many of them started as computer documents, but because of this belief in the power of paper, people printed everything they thought they might some day like to read. That's right, they didn't like to use the computer for reading either. So even unfinished drafts of documents that might some day be important, were printed, read and then filed just in case anyone ever wanted to read them again. Many of these documents were not important at all, but you never know what might be useful, someday.

Then one day the company I worked for moved to a different office, and they decided they did not want to move all that paper. Suddenly, they realized that the basement full of paper was in fact completely useless to them. But even if they didn't want it, they didn't want anyone else to have it either. There might be interesting information somewhere in that basement, and just in case, it should all remain secret. So they decided it should all be shredded - that's how paper is deleted.

And that's how I earned money for Christmas presents, way back in 2008. I deleted things. I couldn't just click on the room and press shred. My job was to open all the metal and plastic folders, and take the paper out and put it in boxes. Then the boxes were moved to where the shredder was, and the folders were all thrown away. It took about a week.

Yes, for a week, this company paid a journalist to look through all their very important, very secret documents and then throw them away.

I was beginning to think that my prediction of the future office basement - without rows of filing cabinets - was too extreme. Today, while I was shopping with my younger sister, my theory was strengthened. She opened a plastic folder and struggled with the metal clasp on the inside. When I showed her how it worked, she said: "So, you just put the paper inside? Wow."

* And then I shudder. Yup, those words still scare me. I'm not quite a grown-up yet.

Posted by Julie at 7:36 PM | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Exam time

Today is the first day of my three-day take-home exam for journalism school. Of course, today I want to write about everything but journalism, and my concentration has been absurdly bad. So I have decided that I won't blog today unless I do something more productive with my school work first.

This means that if I manage to upload anything substantial before midnight, you can all be proud of me. If not, well, wish me luck.


In other news: My coffee machine has been fixed.

(Photo from May 2007, writing my bachelor thesis. The photo was taken on a good day, unlike this one.)

Related posts:

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December 7, 2008

Christmas Wish List 2008

Oppdatering 8. desember: Siden Qvakk først har tatt opp temaet i kommentarfeltet, linker jeg til...

Ønskelister er imidlertid noe jeg lager for folk som vil gi gaver av den tradisjonelle materielle sorten og som ikke vet hva de da bør gi meg.

Posted by Julie at 11:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 1, 2008


December 1st marks a turning point every year. Before this date, anyone who gives me Christmas candy becomes an instant enemy, I have black coffee weeks rather than buy milk in Christmas-themed cartons, and if I hear a Christmas song, I panic. It's more than just a protest against Christmas products for sale in October - any Christmasy feeling at the wrong time of year must be avoided at all costs.

My first winter in Norway gave me such an intense Christmasy feeling that no other December can ever compete with it. For the first time I could remember, everyone around me was celebrating Christmas in the same traditional Norwegian way. No one wished me Happy Holidays or made me decorate a paper holiday tree. Instead we sang actual religious songs in class, counted down the days of December before school started and spent most of class time preparing for our end of semester Christmas show. And Christmas was gloriously, definitely white, not "green" which really means gray and brown.

These days, we prepare for exams instead of singing for our parents. And if I use up my Christmasy feeling in mid-October, when it starts to feel cold and drunk people start singing Christmas carols at me when I walk home, then there won't be any left by the time I'm falling asleep over my text books and worrying about having time to buy - let alone affording - Christmas gifts in mid-December.

Starting today, I feel Christmasy without any guilt. Let's hope it lasts.

Posted by Julie at 8:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 7, 2008

Ukens D2-sitat: Resepsjonistaen

Fra en sak om resesjonsmoten:

Fashionistaen forsvant med "Sex og Singelliv", og resepsjonistaen har tatt over. Hun lager melkekaffen sin selv og finner designerskatter på loftet til mormor eller på Fretex.

D2 har ikke lagt ut saken på nettet. Jeg leste artikkelen på resepsjonistjobben min, og jeg fikk lyst til å øve meg på latte art.

Posted by Julie at 3:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 15, 2008

Fall 2008 Soundtrack

Thinking of music as the soundtrack to my life is just so white. Oh, well. Some of these songs are new, some are very old, but if this fall were a tv series, they would all be in the soundtrack.

Hello Saferide - Anna

Andrew Bird - Tables And Chairs

Emiliana Torrini - Heartstopper

Tori Amos - Raspberry Swirl

My Little Pony - Skipping Down The Street

Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe

Erykah Badu - Soldier

Posted by Julie at 4:29 PM | TrackBack

October 13, 2008

In an alternate universe, I'm American

"I was so nearly an American," writes Stephen Fry. So was I, as everyone knows. Stephen has an American alter-ego he calls Steve. Steve is confident to the point of rudeness, eats jelly, wears jeans and calls his mother "Mom." I can pronounce Julie in English or in Norwegian. The idea of an alternate life - a Julie who moved to the US at age four and never went back to Norway - is fascinating. Whenever I speak American English with real Americans, or find myself saying "we" and meaning "all Americans", I wonder who I could have been.

I've lived two incomplete lives - I was an American child without a future and a Norwegian teenager without a past.

It sounds dramatic, but I thought this idea for the first time when I was still an overly dramatic American little girl. "Julie can be a bit over-dramatic sometimes," my kindergarten teacher wrote on my first report card. I didn't care about report cards. I had an active imagination, and people who didn't play along with the story line in my head, annoyed me. Every now and then, I would go to school and introduce myself as someone completely different - a princess, a witch, my own older sister. I spent at least an hour reading alone in my room every day. No one (except my sister who wasn't allowed in my room during "quiet time") seemed to think this was a problem. I had plenty of friends and prominent positions in several "secret" playground clubs. I was the girl who got the lead in school plays. I took writing classes and acting classes after school, and my short stories were five times as long as the other students'. I was bad at math - I got the answers right, but I was too slow. I didn't care what my friends wore to school, as long as my own outfit was just the way I wanted it to be. I preferred dresses, but my mom made me wear sneakers to school, and sneakers with dresses was a fashion crime to me, so I started wearing jeans. I was a Girl Scout, which meant crafts and sleeping over in the Science Museum. Because I was Norwegian, I couldn't eat candy except for Saturdays, my parents didn't want me to watch TV as much as I wanted to, and I got the day off on May 17th. And I knew I was going to move away from everything and everyone soon.

This American girl didn't grow up. Some time between age ten and eleven, she stopped existing. When I turned 13, I was a Norwegian teenager. I studied my classmates' back pockets and learned that there were at most three acceptable brands of jeans in the world. I was thrilled when fashions changed and wearing skirts was finally "allowed". I was the girl with "too many opinions", the girl with the best grades in the class, serious, professional - elected into the student government every year, despite never running for office. I was really good at math. I still didn't care about report cards, but I worried about seeming like a nerd. I was a walking dictionary, but I didn't know the words to children's songs. I got lost in places where my classmates had grown up. My friends had a shared childhood which I couldn't remember.

At the start of ninth grade, I came back from a summer in the US, with layers in my hair, an unknown brand of jeans and "power bead" bracelets on my wrists. I had gotten a glimpse of American high school, and I desperately wished I knew which clique I should have been in. I didn't fit in at my small town Norwegian school, but I wasn't an outsider either. Because I had grown up in the US, there was a convenient excuse whenever I stepped outside the line. My clothes weren't European designer brands, but they were American. I didn't drink alcohol, but I organized Halloween parties and brought candy corn to class. Of course I was "good at school" - I got a head start by being bilingual. I was never going to do drugs, because that might make it difficult to move back to the US some day. My classmates seemed to accept these excuses. I did too. I had a single explanation for every difficult teenage emotion: I don't really belong here.

As I write this, I'm wearing clothes from France, Sweden and Spain, and shoes from Germany. I'm listening to Swedish music. In Fake Plastic France - the American student community in Paris - I was so European. I didn't wear flip flops, I didn't go running and I would never drink soda with food. I casually paid a small fortune for underwear. I didn't know what beer pong was, and I preferred wine anyway. In journalism class, I argued against the public's right to know the names and addresses of crime suspects, but I impressed my teacher by knowing about Rawls' veil of ignorance. I joked that I wished there were no other Norwegian girls at the American University of Paris. Being the only one would have given me another convenient excuse for weirdness. 

But I know that I'm not me because I'm European or because I'm American or because I'm both. I like my Swedish indie pop, French lingerie, Italian coffee, and American television because my friends do. People don't belong in places. People belong with people. As a Norwegian girl, I've met people who are so important to me I can't imagine a life without them. Dreaming of an alternate reality in which these people don't exist to me, actually hurts. But I still do.

I wonder if over-dramatic Julie would have gotten in to Harvard. If she would have followed American dating rules - if those rules even exist. If she would have been more confident, more ambitious, more naive than me. If she would have had an easier life, a more interesting life. She would have known what to vote in elections. She would have longed for Freia milk chocolate rather than Ben&Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. Her classmates wouldn't have held her responsible when the US went to war. She would idolize Norway, because she only saw it in summer. Her relationship with her grandparents would be uncomplicated, but distant. She wouldn't ski, but she would ride a bike. It would take her longer to learn that race and culture are not uncomplicated outside of elementary school classrooms. She might have worried about being too average rather than too much of an individual.

Moving away from a friend is the least painful way to lose one, and having grown up in the same place as your classmates doesn't mean you'll never be lonely. American Julie might have learned that before I did. But she would have missed out on most of my friendships. It's hard to imagine anything in her alternate reality life making up for that.

For Julie Balise, probably the closest I'll ever get to meeting my American adult self.

Posted by Julie at 7:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 7, 2008

This week

Sunday morning. I have a wheaten terrier sleeping with her feet in my lap, and luxury pesto for breakfast. (Both a direct result of a visit to my parents yesterday). My plans for the day: a walk in the woods with my dog and my best friend, and hopefully skyping with another close friend this evening. Life can be so quietly fantastic sometimes.


This week...

I watched
Jonas Gahr Støre speaking to students about the UN. Støre is the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs. For International Studies students at the University of Oslo, having a thing for this guy is as required as passing exams and handing in papers on time.
Steven Fry talking about the internet
A video on how men should hug - Glad I'm not a guy.

I read
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (started between Thailand and Cambodia, almost finished now)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (read the first hundred pages while waiting in line with other Jonas fans - ahead of almost all of them actually)
Hjorthen's example of how statistics can be misinterpreted (in Norwegian)
Futurese - how will we speak English in 1000 years?
Linda Grant on the two populations of the United States
The Clothes Horse on missing friends

Posted by Julie at 9:06 AM | TrackBack

September 1, 2008


Jeg er journaliststudent! Jeg har med andre ord flyttet fra Blindern. Og plutselig sitter jeg HJEMME kl. 17, og har FRI! Fri? Hvorfor er jeg ikke på lesesalen på Blindern, med en alt for stor bunke pensum ved min side? Fordi på Høgskolen i Oslo har man skoledager, og etterpå er man ferdig for dagen. Er artikkelen levert innen deadline har man fritid. Fritid? Men da bør jeg vel dra på lesesalen for å lese litt mer, da? Nei, det er visst ikke meningen lenger.

Dette betyr at det plutselig er mulig å sløse med tiden. Er man pensumlesestudent, er man hele tiden i gang med lesing, eller man tar en helt nødvendig pause fra lesingen. Er man skoledagsstudent må man fylle fritiden med noe fornuftig.

Heldigvis finnes det MYE å fylle tiden med. Jeg har kommet over semesteret i utlandet, og jeg er klar for å gjøre noe annet enn å nostalgisk oppsøke stamstedene jeg har savnet. Her i Oslo finnes det uoppdagede kaffebarer, bøker på tilbud og turer jeg burde ha gått for lenge siden. Jeg vil gå tur i skogen med familiens hund. Jeg har rundet 20 kaffekort, og jeg kan godt samle flere. Jeg hører rykter om caféer uten ammetåke. Jeg har en ny venn som har lovet å gi meg et ett-årig kurs i film, og stadig venner som tar ansvar for at jeg skal ha variert musikk- film- og boksmak. Og skulle alt dette virke litt overveldende, kan jeg få meningen med livet forklart på ca. 100 sider.

Det blir en bra høst. Det har jeg bestemt.

Posted by Julie at 7:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 27, 2008

I'm off to Asia!

My trip to Cambodia and Thailand will begin in one hour. I will be more or less offline for the next three weeks.


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July 8, 2008

Pia Haraldsens feil

Bikinien min matchet forsiden. I ettertid matchet huden min rammen på forsiden.Min Facebook status: Julie er solbrent (og skylder på Pia Haraldsen.)

Hvorfor? Jeg leste hele boken til Pia Haraldsen mens jeg lå på en flytebrygge utenfor Malmøya. Det tok ikke veldig lang tid å komme gjennom den boken, men lang nok tid til at jeg burde hatt mer/sterkere solkrem. Bikinien min matchet forsiden. I ettertid matchet huden min rammen på forsiden.

Ja, men hvorfor gjorde du DET da? Pia Haraldsens bok var årsak til en liten slåsskamp diskusjon ved en middag hos familien min for noen måneder siden. Min far og jeg hadde begge lest om den i Morgenbladet, og vi var skeptiske. Min mor og en av mine søstre forsvarte boken. Ingen av oss hadde lest den på dette tidspunktet, men da den viste seg å være i mine foreldres hus da jeg besøkte dem på en fridag, måtte jeg bare finne ut hvem av oss som hadde rett.

Og hvem hadde rett? Vel...

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May 5, 2008

Way back when...

Way back when I did not blog, Dad apparently blogged about me.

Posted by Julie at 11:55 PM | TrackBack

April 26, 2008


I am testing Windows Live Writer. If this works, blogging without a stable Internet connection will be possible. But I actually started this post to tell you that I am not planning on blogging that much this month. It is my last month in Paris, the weather gods seem to have come to their senses after my rant, and I would like to spend my time doing things that do not require me to be inside near a source of electricity.

Right now for example, I wouldn't mind being on the Champ de Mars with my classmates, after having said "Yes please!" to supposedly "Italian" vodka smoothies and Czech beer, rather than: "No thank you, I need to write this afternoon." AUP just had "world's fair", where the nationalities of the school are represented with tables of food and alcohol. I have had coffee from Saudi Arabia and food from Thailand, Sweden, the USA, Romania and Armenia for lunch. And now I'm back in a very much deserted university library, sitting by an open window and hearing birds chirp in the courtyard outside. I am writing a paper on Joseph Nye. And you know what? I'm really enjoying the day, even though I'm stuck inside. And if I get some work done now, I will reward myself by spending the evening on the steps in front of Sacre Cæur.

I will be leaving Paris on the morning of Thursday, May 22nd.

Posted by Julie at 5:06 PM | TrackBack

April 6, 2008

Since you asked: A collection of answers

So, you thought I was going to answer every question in its own post? Sorry, that is not possible - do you want me to get stressed?* Here are some answers to some of your questions:

-What was your favorite book at age thirteen?

I know I'm not being terribly original, but it was The Lord of the Rings.

-How old were you the first time you had a crush on someone?
It's a question of definition, really. Because you think: “Oh, so this is what it's like to have a crush on someone.” And then a little while later: “No, wait, this is more intense. This is what it feels like. Last time was nothing.” And then: “No, no. This is the real thing.” And then eventually “crush” is not a strong enough word. So I could say 11. Or 12. Or 13.

-Which of the following does not fit in, and why? A: A Bear B: Rune Gerhardsen C: NSB
Interesting. I should think up a really good response to this, but not right now.

-Which sexual fetish do you find to be the least attractive?
I am sure that no matter what I suggest, the least attractive one will be something I have not yet heard of. And I don't really want to start that conversation in my comments.

-Which Tori Amos album do you consider to be the best?
Technically, I only have two whole albums: The Beekeeper and American Doll Posse, and they are so different that they can barely be compared. It really depends on my mood.  The Beekeeper got some pretty bad reviews for being “safe”, “the kind of music you listen to while doing the dishes” and “Tori Amos for people who don't really like Tori Amos”. I think it's beautiful, although I get those points. But I do listen to safe, pretty music while I do the dishes. American Doll Posse is more of a rock album, I guess, less just Tori and her piano(s). I also have the best-of album that came out before these two. It's called Tales of a Librarian. I would say that these are three favorite songs, in no particular order: “Sleeps with butterflies” from The Beekeeper, “A sorta fairy-tale” from Scarlett's Walk and “Bouncing off clouds” from American Doll Posse. I cannot believe that I, of all people, am officially writing about music now.

-White wine or red wine?
Usually, red. Having red wine with white wine food annoys me less than the opposite situation. This is probably because I have grown up with a father who will drink red wine with shrimp, which is officially considered disgusting. In my opinion, a good red wine is better than a good white wine. However, a not-so-good white wine is better than a not-so-good red wine. And given my tendency to spill, white is safer.

*By the way, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this article. It's hard to tell how serious it actually is, and if the news peg is two recent deaths, it should be serious. 

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March 20, 2008


I'm not sure what it was. A couple of sunny days in a row always helps my mood. Maybe it was the five different people who asked me for directions in both English and French in fifteen minutes - and the fact that I had answers for all of them. Or how happy I was to see my American friends when they got back from spring break, and how much I had missed them - each one specifically and individually for different reasons. When my mom and then friends of my friends visited Paris, I could point out interesting things for them to see. I have a favorite bench on L'Esplanade des Invalides, and I have internet access there. I understand enough French to eavesdrop on conversations. And - this might just be my imagination - but sometimes I can pass people on the street.

For whatever reason, as I rode the escalator out of the Invalides metro station on Sunday afternoon, with a view of the Eiffel tower, the golden dome under which Napoleon is, and my own building, I felt like I was home. I live in Paris.

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March 11, 2008

Being a tourist in one's own city

After my week "back home in Oslo", I went "back home to Paris", and my mother visited me for a few days. My parents usually don't enjoy touristy things, and they have brought me up to dislike them too. With my family, visiting a foreign country involves getting back in touch with whatever friends we have who are currently living there, and following them around while they go to school and go grocery shopping. Naturally, the original plan was for my mom to follow me around and observe my daily life in Paris, but since there are no classes, most of my friends are travelling Europe, and watching me blog from the library gets old, we gave in to tourism instead. 

I realized that I was never a tourist in this city. From the moment I got off the bus that took me from Charles de Guelle to Avenue Bosquet, I have been either busy or tired from having been busy. Not counting the pictures for the coffee shop reviews, I've taken maybe seven photographs, most of them really bad ones. So, nearly two months after first arriving in Paris, I opened a guide book. I read what travel writers have to say about my new home. I posed for photos in the classrooms, at the Louvre, inside Le Bon Marché, in front of Hôtel de Ville, and with the Eiffel Tower in the background at various times of day and night. I chose cafés based on which authors used to sit there. I got up early and walked in the rain to an outdoor market, just because it's more interesting than getting groceries at an actual store.

And I realized that there is no reason not to continue living like this. 

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March 10, 2008

These past couple weeks (an update halfway through spring break)

For spring break, my friends in Paris all wanted to travel the world, but I could only think of one place I wanted to go: home. And home is definitely Oslo. I wasn't sure it was - until I left it. Don't get me wrong: I love Paris, I'm very glad I decided to stay here, and I'm happy. But I think I really needed a week in my own city. And it was a great week. Halfway through, I was annoyed at myself for not staying for longer than a week, but on the other hand, the fact that my time was limited made me very efficient. There are a few people I unfortunately didn't get to see, but for the most part, I think my time was spent in the best way possible. I was never alone, and never bored. I visited most of my favorite places, including Café Sara, Bare Jazz, Åpent Bakeri, Underwater Pub, the university, and many of my friends' apartments. I hosted a party, made a mess in my kitchen, studied in the social studies building, stayed up all night when I shouldn't have (over and over again) - all the things I usually do. The week was like a condensed version of what my life in Oslo is like. And leaving was easier this time - not just because I knew what to expect when I landed in Paris, but because I knew that Oslo and my life there was doing ok without me, and that it will all be there when I get back.

For the next week, I will be more or less alone in Paris, with a lot of deadlines. So there will probably be some blogging. In the meantime, some recommendations:

These past two weeks... 

I listened to

I read

I watched

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February 21, 2008

Gode nyheter...

... hvis du bor i Oslo og savner meg: Jeg er i Oslo den første uken i mars. Det vil si at jeg reiser tilbake til Paris tidlig, tidlig om morgenen fredag den 7. mars.

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February 15, 2008

Reality checks

Internet in my apartment room has been off these past couple of days. Perhaps this was a good thing, as it stopped me writing a rant about my cold/pain from getting wisdom teeth/fever/missed deadlines/inability to find decent, healthy food/overdose of croissants, baguettes and quiches. Seriously, I'm in Paris, and I'm happy to be here. But to be honest, my thoughts are alternating between "Oh, wow, I'm in Paris, I can see the Eiffel tower!" and "Why did I leave my friends, family and coffee machine?" at the moment.

Also, I'm trying not to spend all my money at once. Paris is a fantastic place to spend money. There are so many restaurants/boulangeries/lingerie boutiques/department stores/movie theaters/clubs/museums/bars that I could make exploring, shopping, eating and drinking a full-time job. In fact, I did manage to make it at least a part-time job by writing coffee shop reviews for the school newspaper. I'm usually overly careful with money, but I've been a little bit worried that going on a four month vacation - as in not working while being in a new and interesting place - will ruin every single one of my good habits.

So I'm glad I got a double reality check from John Scalzi. First I read his "Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money". After the jump are the tips from the article and its comments that I should be repeating every day while I'm here. Then I reread "Being Poor is Knowing Exactly How Much Everything Costs" to remind myself how great my life is. 

Fashion is the enemy of personal economics.


It’s insane for a poor person to routinely pay other people to cook and serve them food.


You are likely to be surprised at how many things it turns out you don’t really need if you have to wait to get them, and can actually see the mass o’ cash you’re laying out for ‘em.


When you do buy something, buy the best you can afford. Cheap crap sucks.


Save your money.


I like my coffee. I like electricity more.

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February 12, 2008

Passing strangers

During my first month in Paris, at an American university, (waiting for money from Norway), I have thought about what culture I really feel that I represent here. I am European because I drink wine without getting drunk, feel comfortable in heels and fishnets, and know that there is a price difference when someone calls my French number when I'm in France vs. if I go to Italy. I am Norwegian because I know that neither a croissant nor a baguette is real bread, think all drinks in Paris are cheap and arrive at parties wearing boots and woolen socks and carrying indoor party shoes. I am American because I sound like one and use "we" when I talk about the US.

The ultimate test might be how I handle passing strangers.

Paris is not designed to cope with this situation at all. I have this theory: There are too many Parisians in Paris. The metro basically works, as do the wide boulevards (although not near Galleries Lafayette) and even parts of the Champs Elyssée (although not on weekends). But the charming narrow cobble-stoned streets and the sidewalks on any street were not built for actual people who really need to walk from point A to point B. They were built for chairs and café tables, for smoking waiters, for signs advertizing the "formule" of the day, for slow-walkers who take their time choosing which boulangerie they should buy their morning croissant from, and of course, for small dogs.

Oslo wasn't designed for people either, but this doesn't matter. First off, there aren't that many people in Norway. Secondly, Norwegians don't like interacting with strangers. This fear is hard to explain to Americans. What Americans call "friendly small-talk", Norwegians call "crazy/drunk/American/all of the above stalker tendencies". Norwegians back off when I come anywhere near an invasion of their personal space, which means they get out of my way. French people on the other hand, will not notice that I am standing right behind them. To get past them, I must either yell: "Pardon!" or just walk around them, in the actual street. If I meet someone face-to-face, the general rule seems to be that I must wait while they walk first, no matter what. Americans on the other hand, say "Excuse me," even if they are nowhere near me, just in case. They also smile more.

The last time I went to the US, the first thing that happened when I got there, was that a stranger talked to me and smiled at me and it didn't feel weird. I knew I was home. When I came back to Europe, the first thing that happened was that a stranger ran over my feet with a loaded luggage cart and didn't apologize. And I knew I was home again.

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January 24, 2008

So, how is school?

Here's the answer to the number one question everyone is asking me these days: 

I go to French class in the mornings, Monday through Thursday. The class is small, and we were all tested to make sure we're on the same level. The course includes vocabulary and grammar, but so far, we've basically just talked a lot - which is good. On Mondays and Thursdays I take classes in economics and politics, including a class on the upcoming American presidential elections.

On Wednesday nights (until 9:30 PM!) I have journalism class. Somehow I ended up in a course that requires students to already have taken a journalism class, and well, I haven't. But halfway through the first day, I was having too much fun to really notice. I bought a journalism textbook last semester on impulse, and I'm glad I did. Otherwise, words like "spin" would have confused me. The teacher is a reporter, and he expects us to bring the International Herald Tribune to every class. In fact, that newspaper is required reading, so I need to look into getting a subscription. For next week, I already have three assignments: a press release about myself, a 250 word article on "AUP: Mac or PC?" and an idea for a feature about some press-related topic. The teacher asked if there were any Scandinavians in class, because he wanted someone to write about the press in a Scandinavian country, so I have a pretty clear idea of the topic for my feature already. And I just found out that writing for the AUP newspaper The Planet will give me extra credit in the class, and I was thinking of doing that anyway. I suppose the danger here is that I spend all my time writing, and no time reading for other classes.

AUP is a small university - 1000 undergrads and 17 students per full-time faculty member. I haven't been in classes this size since elementary school. Compared to U of O, there is less required reading, but more strongly recommended reading, including articles handed out in class, websites we're expected to check, and a general understanding that we all follow the news like "news junkies" (plus check the polls for the US primaries regularly). Unlike in the Norwegian system, the final exam is just one of several tests, and class participation counts. I plan to check out the library tomorrow or maybe tonight after class, since I don't like studying at home. If I don't like studying in the library either, there's always LaSource, the closest café, where they have free wireless and waiters who recognize me already. 


Image via Heidi

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January 21, 2008

General update part 1

This is the first day of school for me here at the American University of Paris. Orientation week is over, which means that real life is starting. I have an apartment  a tiny room ten minutes from school. It's like living on a campus, except it's better. I mean, it's Paris. You know those American movies set in Paris where the Eiffel tower is in the background in every single scene? That is real. I can see the Eiffel tower all the time, which means that my life is a movie now.

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January 14, 2008

Blogging from Paris

I'm not dead. I have recent Facebook activity after all. But there have been complaints about this blog not being updated, and to that criticism, I would like to say: Thanks for noticing - thanks for reading! I have been really busy, and my mind has been on personal things not fit to be put on my blog. When I tell people this in real life, they ask if its serious. No, I'm definitely OK, but since the last time I blogged, I have more or less finished my bachelor's degree, celebrated Christmas, packed all my belongings into either suitcases or my attic, said good-bye to friends and family and moved to Paris.

I know I said I wasn't going to do that, but it suddenly worked out. And although the pain of leaving people behind really makes me realize what a wonderful life I lead in Oslo, I am (so far) glad that I am here. And I will keep you posted.

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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.

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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.

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October 15, 2007

"The problem is not your thighs, sweetie; it's your head. Now about the shoes..."

Read this first. Notice how I am being told to shut up. Notice how in the comments I am encouraged to blog anyway. So I am.

Disclaimer: It is possible to read this as a critique of the post I just linked to, or as criticism of the writer Sjokoladepiken for even posting that post. This is not my intention at all. This is a general comment about something that has been on my mind off and on for years.

And then, perfectly in tune with my own blogging schedule, Dollymix links to an article by Jane Shilling about women and food. She admits that she has never dieted and writes: “I’ve been feeling awfully lonely lately, and I thought it might help to set up a support group for British women who have a normal relationship with food. There must be a couple of you out there.”

Being a girl with a lot of friends who are girls, I have had hundreds of conversations about food and dieting, not to mention thousands of conversations about disliking one's thighs and knees and feet and seriously, there is not a body part out there that no one has issues about. I usually don't contribute much to these conversations. Firstly, while I do have some issues, I have a lot of other things on my mind, and I find many of these things more interesting than my own legs. Secondly, if there is something about my appearance that I'm really uncomfortable with for whatever reason, I don't want to draw attention to it by constantly pointing it out to everyone. Thirdly, if I think through all the different aspects of my appearance, I really think that I'm happy about more things than I am unhappy about.

This means I can sometimes come off as insensitive, dull, stuck-up and maybe in denial about my own looks. Friends will tell me they feel fat, and when I don't manage to repeat the expected phrase (“Me too”? “No, you are SO skinny”? What's my line again?) they think I'm weird (or they tell me to shut up). So here's what I really want to say in these situations: If you are a close friend of mine, and this is really important to you, listening and sympathising is in my job description as “friend”. But if you are someone I don't know that well, my reaction will probably not make you feel better.

Because this isn't subject matter that I want to discuss with every girl I talk to. I don't believe that this is or should be a topic of conversation that unites all girls. Notice how Sjokoladepiken tagged her post commenting on The Calorie Quiz under “girliness”. This isn't a reflection on her personally, or even specifically, because many people think like this. I just find it interesting that counting calories falls into the same category as peep-toe stilettos, lacy pink bras and bright red lipstick. It all fits into “stuff you might find in Cosmo”, but why? Shilling writes: “(B)ecause body image is implicated with fashion, media and other commercial interests, including the vastly lucrative diet-and-treatment industry, the “madness” continues to be treated as an idiosyncratic indulgence, like a taste for couture frocks or expensive facials.”

While I'm not going to go into the whole “Women's Interests” debate, I will say: Lipstick, lingerie and shoes are fun, light-hearted conversation topics, which I am comfortable discussing with any girl who wants to (and any guy who feels offended that I just wrote “girl” and not “person”). Dieting and self-esteem issues are serious topics that for some people cause a lot of emotional distress. Counting calories is not a harmless hobby. Feeling ugly on a regular basis is not a good thing. Liking your own body, not because it's perfect, but because it's your own, is something all women should do. We should not be ashamed of this. We should not feel abnormal if we're not dieting, considering plastic surgery or hating the way we look.

Studies show that women are more upset about the aspects of our appearance that we believe we can change ourselves (hair, skin and of course weight) than the things we believe to be completely out of our hands (height, shoe size). It appears that the guilty feeling of not having done a good job is worse than the actual “feeling ugly” part. So a natural first step to happiness is to accept that, without surgery, there is a lot about appearance that you can't do a thing about. It's not your fault, so stop feeling bad, and there is no advice that will help, so stop asking. Second step is to get it through your head that your issues are in your head. That I like the way I look has to do with my attitude, not my dress size. I know this because while my dress size hasn't changed in years, the way I feel when I look in the mirror changes depending on my mood. Third step is to stick to normal, healthy habits. No diets, no resolutions you'll break within a week. Shilling's miracle diet regime, the one that has kept her in the same size from her late teens to her late forties, is this:

"Step 1. Eat three proper meals a day, made from fresh ingredients. Eat nothing else in between. You are not hungry. You are bored. Go for a walk or have a glass of water. While you’re at it, think about people who are properly hungry and feel ashamed. 2. At mealtimes, stop eating when you are full. We’re not on the ration now, it is fine not to finish your plateful. 3. Walk briskly around the park in your lunch hour (or walk to work, or walk the dog after work, or whatever). Take the family with you and save the money the gym would have cost you to go out for supper and a movie. Er, that’s it. Now, please can I have my own telly series?”

Just as cupcate writes on Dollymix, we're all different, and we should have (healthy) snacks if we're hungry between meals. However, what Shilling is trying to say is that most of us don't need diets or miracles or to know exactly how many calories we're eating. We just need to establish some healthy habits and stick to them.

Let's get into the habit of having healthy conversations.



The title of this post is a line Carrie says to Charlotte in "Sex and the City"


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September 13, 2007

Think before you act

This week I received an e-mail from the student government telling me that someone had contacted them, wanting me to remove something from my blog. 

I was curious and a little nervous at first, and then vaguely annoyed when I found out what it was all about: someone wanted me to remove a comment because of (in this person's own words) "a pathetic attempt to remove myself from the internet." There was nothing incriminating in the comment - the only thing a reader would find out about the commentor was that he/she liked my blog without knowing me personally.

Although this incident was really minor, I suppose it does set a precedent for how I should handle this kind of stuff in the future. And I must admit that my gut feeling was annoyance. Commenting a blog is like talking to the blogger in real life. Once you've said something to someone, you can't really unsay it. You can tell them to stop telling other people that you said it, which I guess is what this person did to me. You can insist on getting credit for your brilliant thoughts. But if you regret having said something in real life, then, well, that's life.

I feel like I'm constantly telling people this to no avail, but (drum roll) the internet is just like real life. Facebook doesn't change who your friends are, cruelty is still cruelty, and once you've said something, it's out there. Both literally, because of internet tools like Bloglines and web.archive.org (see comments to this post), but also in peoples' minds. Once someone knows that you went to that party, or that you agree with that political blogger, no amount of de-tagging or comment-deleting will save you.

The obvious solution is to think before you act. I've discussed this with friends who claim that there is a difference between how you are expected to act in private and how you are expected to act in public, and that no one has the right to force anyone else to mix the two. This is sort of true. I agree that no one has the right to upload drunken photos of you, but I still believe that the easiest solution to this problem is to avoid passing out in your own vomit when there are cameras in the room. That, and only getting drunk with people you actually trust. And if you think about it, in the good old days before the internet, people still managed to know all the weekend gossip by lunch on Monday anyway. People in China didn't find out, but did you really care what people in China knew about your drunkenness? And do you really care now? 

And all this whining about potential employers googling you? What are people really afraid of? I can just picture it: "You know, this woman has an excellent education, interesting work experience and great recomendations, but she used to write comments on a fashion blog, so she's clearly not serious enough for this company." or "I hear that when this man was in his early twenties, he used to go out with his college friends and (gasp!) drink beer! We couldn't possibly hire someone like that." Or maybe: "I know she's really qualified for the job, and she's beautiful too by the way, but in this one photo I found on Facebook, she was having a really bad hair day."

However, if you insist, I guess I'll humor you. I have now removed the person's name, e-mail and website from this site.

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August 9, 2007

Someone give me a reason to stay

Norwegians are simply not rich, thinking in Norway is frowned apon, and the authorities do cruel things. I want to believe that there are good reasons for this, but I'm losing faith.

I was born here, but I don't think in Norwegian. Almost everything I say these days is the translated version of what I'm really thinking. After ten days in Massachusetts, I've started to wonder why I didn't just stay in that place where people say "Excuse me" when they step on your shoes, where bookstores are open until 11 PM, where coffee ice cream actually gives you a buzz and where the local radio station features more relevant and thought-provoking debates than national tv in Norway.

Update November 23rd: Thank you, Michael Moore

Remind me why I live here...?

Posted by Julie at 1:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

How to travel Part 1: This is a non-stupidity flight

Stupid people should be treated like smokers.

"Live and let live" is an excellent rule when interpreted correctly. It does not mean "Everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want," but "Everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want, as long as the only people they harm are themselves." Unfortunately, as long as you interact with other living things at all, this second part of the rule limits you quite a lot. Norwegian smokers have noticed this in the past two years, since stricter regulations were imposed July 2005. It is now legal to buy boxes of cigarettes with THIS THING YOU JUST BOUGHT WILL BE YOUR DEATH!!! written on them, but you can't smoke them anywhere indoors. And since Norway has about six months of white winter and four months of green winter, this makes being a smoker in Norway a cold, wet and lonely existence. (Or so I hope. I am not a smoker.) And this is ok, because by now everyone knows that smoking is unhealthy and addictive and every smoker knew this when they started. It is a stupid choice, and if you insist on making it, then you should accept being left outside in the cold. Literally.

When I fly, I wish other stupid choices were treated the same way as the choice to start smoking. By now, shouldn't we assume that most people in the Western world know how to behave when they travel? As Eddie Izzard says: if you need to watch the part of the security information when they tell you how to put on your seatbelt, how did you manage to buy a plane ticket? And with all the publicity about the new limit on fluids in carry-on luggage, shouldn't people have gotten the message by now? I don't really see how putting my eye cream in a plastic bag makes the world a safer place, but I just do it. I don't wait for security personel at the airport to remind me and then hold up the line while arguing with them about my economy-size shampoo bottle I just have to bring with me everywhere. I've seen people standing next to a "Remove your laptop and place it in a tray" sign discussing (in the same language as the sign was written in) whether or not they should keep their laptops in their bags. I always manage to stand directly behind someone in the check-in line who didn't realize that not only do you have to bring your passport and your ticket with you when you travel, you also shouldn't bring twice as much luggage as you are allowed to, unless you are prepared to pay for it. And most of all: if you don't show up for the flight, that should be your own problem. At Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, they say over the intercom: "Mr. ________, you are delaying the flight." which I think is just rude enough.

Part 2 

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May 27, 2007


Jeg sluttet å tegne da jeg lærte å skrive. Skriving var en så mye mer effektiv måte for meg å uttrykke meg på. Men nå må jeg altså bruke bilder igjen...

Hva er du flink til?


Hva er du mest redd for?


Hvilket yrke ønsker du deg?


Hva ville du sunget på idol-audition?


Hvem skulle spilt deg i filmen om ditt liv?


Hva er det beste med hjemstedet ditt?

Svar 1 (hjemme hos mamma og pappa): 


Svar 2 (hjemme hos meg selv): 


Hva gjør deg glad?

Hva drømmer du om?


Hvorfor er du ikke kjendis, egentlig?


Hvem tagger du?

Posted by Julie at 11:10 PM | TrackBack

May 20, 2007

To Do List

When I look back at the last few months and wonder what on earth I have been doing with my time, it's good to know that I am not the only one with this feeling of having achieved nothing. Continue reading to see a To Do List I think we can all relate to.

Incidently, this is entry number 200, so I have achieved something. 

Posted by Julie at 11:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 16, 2007

Countries I have visited

Continue reading to see a map showing where I've been - and which countries are still on my to-do list.

create your own visited country map or check our Venice travel guide

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March 29, 2007


Jeg har drukket øl i Parken for første gang denne sesongen. Det betyr at det er sommer.


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March 3, 2007

Back to Rome

I'm off to Rome... again!

Although I didn't throw any coins in the Trevi fountain, I am going back to Rome now, this time with my class. Last year's class trip to Prague was a definitive success, so I'm very excited. I won't be blogging from Rome, but I'll probably be scribbling in notebooks, so I'm sure there will be some travelblogging when I get back.


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February 20, 2007

Update on the computer situation

Warning: I'm going to write about computers now. 

Thanks everyone, for all comments, both real life and online. I'm typing this on my new computer! And no, it's not a Macbook. The fact that many of you "just prefer Apple to Windows" without being able to tell me why wasn't enough. Maybe if money were not an issue at all. But then again, I really don't like their keyboards. And I don't see what's so great about white. I wouldn't say that this computer is pretty, but I haven't ever called any computer pretty. I think it's relatively not ugly.

I'm going to miss my old computer, which I now refer to as "the little one", but I wasn't willing to spend the extra cash for a new version of the same thing.

I asked for an explanation of the Apple/Windows debate, and I found one. The full text can be downloaded here, but I'm posting an excerpt. It's not going to make my Mac-using friends happy, but Stephenson does say that he "embraced OS X as soon as it was available and have never looked back. So a lot of "In the beginning was the command line" is now obsolete." There is an updated version, now with monkeys, which will make these same friends very happy, and which I've also posted an excerpt from.

When I bought my computer, I wasn't thinking about any of this. All I really need is Firefox and Open Office attached to a good keyboard.

From In the Beginning... Was the Command Line by Neil Stephenson:

Imagine a crossroads where four competing auto dealerships are situated. One of them (Microsoft) is much, much bigger than the others. It started out years ago selling three-speed bicycles (MS-DOS); these were not perfect, but they worked, and when they broke you could easily fix them.

There was a competing bicycle dealership next door (Apple) that one day began selling motorized vehicles—expensive but attractively styled cars with their innards hermetically sealed, so that how they worked was something of a mystery. The big dealership responded by rushing a moped upgrade kit (the original Windows) onto the market. This was a Rube Goldberg contraption that, when bolted onto a three-speed bicycle, enabled it to keep up, just barely, with Apple-cars. The users had to wear goggles and were always picking bugs out of their teeth while Apple owners sped along in hermetically sealed comfort, sneering out the windows. But the Micro-mopeds were cheap, and easy to fix compared with the Apple-cars, and their market share waxed.

Eventually the big dealership came out with a full-fledged car: a colossal station wagon (Windows 95). It had all the aesthetic appeal of a Soviet worker housing block, it leaked oil and blew gaskets, and it was an enormous success. A little later, they also came out with a hulking off-road vehicle intended for industrial users (Windows NT) which was no more beautiful than the station wagon, and only a little more reliable.

Since then there has been a lot of noise and shouting, but little has changed. The smaller dealership continues to sell sleek Euro-styled sedans and to spend a lot of money on advertising campaigns. They have had GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! signs taped up in their windows for so long that they have gotten all yellow and curly. The big one keeps making bigger and bigger station wagons and ORVs.

On the other side of the road are two competitors that have come along more recently.

One of them (Be, Inc.) is selling fully operational Batmobiles (the BeOS). They are more beautiful and stylish even than the Euro-sedans, better designed, more technologically advanced, and at least as reliable as anything else on the market--and yet cheaper than the others.

With one exception, that is: Linux, which is right next door, and which is not a business at all. It's a bunch of Rvs, yurts, tepees, and geodesic domes set up in a field and organized by consensus. The people who live there are making tanks. These are not old-fashioned, cast-iron Soviet tanks; these are more like the M1 tanks of the U.S. Army, made of space-age materials and jammed with sophisticated technology from one end to the other. But they are better than Army tanks. They've been modified in such a way that they never, ever break down, are light and maneuverable enough to use on ordinary streets, and use no more fuel than a subcompact car. These tanks are being cranked out, on the spot, at a terrific pace, and a vast number of them are lined up along the edge of the road with keys in the ignition. Anyone who wants can simply climb into one and drive it away for free.

Customers come to this crossroads in throngs, day and night. Ninety percent of them go straight to the biggest dealership and buy station wagons or off-road vehicles. They do not even look at the other dealerships. Of the remaining ten percent, most go and buy a sleek Euro-sedan, pausing only to turn up their noses at the philistines going to buy the station wagons and ORVs. If they even notice the people on the opposite side of the road, selling the cheaper, technically superior vehicles, these customers deride them cranks and half-wits. The Batmobile outlet sells a few vehicles to the occasional car nut who wants a second vehicle to go with his station wagon, but seems to accept, at least for now, that it's a fringe player.

The group giving away the free tanks only stays alive because it is staffed by volunteers, who are lined up at the edge of the street with bullhorns, trying to draw customers' attention to this incredible situation. A typical conversation goes something like this:

Hacker with bullhorn: "Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!"

Prospective station wagon buyer: "I know what you say is true...but...er...I don't know how to maintain a tank!"

Bullhorn: "You don't know how to maintain a station wagon either!"

Buyer: "But this dealership has mechanics on staff. If something goes wrong with my station wagon, I can take a day off work, bring it here, and pay them to work on it while I sit in the waiting room for hours, listening to elevator music."

Bullhorn: "But if you accept one of our free tanks we will send volunteers to your house to fix it for free while you sleep!"

Buyer: "Stay away from my house, you freak!"

Bullhorn: "But..."

Buyer: "Can't you see that everyone is buying station wagons?"

And now, with monkeys, added by Garrett Birkel:

(...) if you buy an Apple sedan, you also receive a little monkey in a snappy blue suit. Your personal X-Monkey (as the company calls him) is the ideal driver of your Apple sedan. He knows where everything is, feeds and washes himself, drives defensively, and will even tune up the car for you. X-Monkey will accept precise instructions like, "forward 10 feet, right 20 degrees", but he is smart enough to think on his own, so you can tell him "Drive me to a taco stand, then pick up Uncle Steve". He will also keep you out of trouble, by politely ignoring instructions like, "Run over that jogger", and "Floor it", when you're at a red light. Depending on your temperament, this could actually be a downside.

The X-Monkey comes from a line of monkeys originally bred by the military for the purpose of driving tanks. It's a good fit, because the modern Apple sedan is actually a tank in a fancy shell. The X-Monkey's only drawback is that he can only drive a car from Apple. Show him any other vehicle, and he won't even know how to operate the door lock.

Meanwhile, the free-thinking Linux people, displeased with genetic engineering, have created their own smart monkey chauffeurs through a massive international breeding program. Unlike the X-Monkey, the Linux Monkey is capable of driving any car, including the Apple sedan. If you could install a steering wheel on a log splitter, the Linux Monkey could drive it for you. The catch is, you have to train the Linux Monkey yourself. Fortunately there are experts everywhere who will help you out, and the Linux Monkey trains easily.

The Microsoft Gorilla, on the other hand, cannot be trained. Instead, you must keep rephrasing your directions until the MS Gorilla can comprehend them. He consumes both front seats, lowering the mileage of your car, and blocking most of your view. Though he sounds like a bad deal, MS Gorilla is actually extremely popular, because he looks impressive, drives aggressively, and keeps his mouth shut. If you speak in his limited vocabulary, he will take you Where You Want To Go Today ... especially if he can plow monkeys off the intervening road. However, if you touch anything on the dashboard, or try to haggle with him over the exact route, he may become irritated and casually drive your car into a telephone pole. People learn to not argue.

The point to this altered metaphor is that the Microsoft dealership, and the Linux collective, do not really make cars at all. All those shiny automobiles sitting on the lot and lined up on the street corner are re-branded vehicles, manufactured by other companies. However, their modern instrument panels are so confusing that they'd be useless without a chauffeur. ... And the Microsoft dealership gets a cut from the price of every vehicle that leaves their lot, piloted by the Microsoft Gorilla.

If you were so inclined, you could purchase a car from them, drive to the sidewalk, and kick the gorilla out onto the curb. The Linux Monkey can hop right in and start driving for you. Of course, Microsoft already has your money, and what are you going to do with a spare gorilla?

Contrast this with the Apple dealership, that personally designs and assembles every Apple sedan. When a sedan leaves their lot, they pocket the whole amount. You could still kick out the X-Monkey any time, but why would you? The Linux Monkey is basically the same, without the training.

Posted by Julie at 7:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Hvordan oppleve en fantastisk søndag


  1. Våkne kl. 10 (ikke for sent, ikke for tidlig) på en behagelig sofa hos gode venner.
  2. Spis stor frokost med bacon, omelett, rundstykker, boller og mye kaffe. Veldig mye kaffe.
  3. Gå til toget og vær positivt overrasket over været.
  4. Ring mormor og gratuler henne med dagen.
  5. Sitt på toget og stirr ut av vinduet og nyt følelsen av å være akkurat sliten nok til at du ikke føler at du burde gjort noe fornuftig.
  6. Sitt utenfor en kino og vær helt i din egen verden fordi du har en morsom bok.
  7. Se Dream Girls, gratis førpremiere, langt fremme i salen.
  8. Gå en lang omvei hjem fordi du vil høre hele CD-en til The Magic Numbers.
  9. Kjøp grønnsaker og lag en stor salat.
  10. Gled deg til kake og te med venninner på kvelden.


Ja, jeg har det bra. 

Posted by Julie at 5:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

You know I can't handle stupidity...

One of my earliest childhood memories is blood, or more precisely: my neighbor's arm bleeding. I was about three at the time and the reason she was bleeding was that I had bitten her. And the reason I had bitten her was that she had asked a stupid question. Not a rude or cruel question, a stupid one. She was my age, and I was going to show her something. She asked if it was "over there" pointing in the exact opposite direction of where I was taking her. I thought this was so dumb that I grabbed her lower arm and bit her.

In retrospect, I know that she can't have been bleeding as much as I think I remember, even though I certainly didn't choose the safest place to bite her. Her mother was of course not only furious, but also terrified, and I wonder if she ever stopped feeling that way about me. When I met this girl about six years later, we had a good laugh about this shared memory, then basically forgot about it and went on being classmates and neigbors. Lately though, I've been thinking about why I did this. I wasn't scared or angry, I was really only annoyed. I've stopped biting people now, but I still have extreme reactions to stupidity. So when I say: "You know how I get around stupid people. I can't handle stupidity," I guess this is proof...

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December 5, 2006

If there were only six months left...

Some time during the stress of exam preparation (currently three exams down, one to go), I watched a talk show where one of the topics was: "What would you do if you only had six months left to live?" The discussion wasn't particularly interesting, but that opening question was. At the time, I was feeling guilty every day I didn't study at the University from 8AM to 8PM, constantly worrying that I wasn't worrying enough about my frighteningly near future. I thought: "Well, I wouldn't have to take those exams if I only had six months left - and would that be a good thing?" Bored with the discussion on the tv screen, the turned to my laptop screen and wrote what first came into my head. I didn't write it for this blog, or really for anyone but myself, but oh well, here it is:

If I found out that I only had six months to live, there isn’t much I would change about my life style. I would still spend the majority of my time reading, quite possibly at the university, but I would only read what I felt like reading – novels, newspapers, textbooks for random subjects I would never have thought of studying before – instead of signing up for three or four subjects that I need to complete a major. I would tell as few people as possible that this was no ordinary semester – if I could get away with it, I wouldn’t tell anyone. I wouldn’t want them to treat me differently. My closest friends would know of course, but only because they had to. After all, I couldn’t just tell them that I was dropping out of my bachelor studies, that I had decided I had no ambition to do anything with my life beyond reading for classes I wasn’t taking. I would follow the classes I felt like following, reading the required books and going to lectures. No one would have to know that I didn’t plan on taking any exams.


Freed from the obligation of actually having to prepare for my future, I would spend more time with friends. I would meet them when they had the time, instead of the way it is now, where we compare busy calendars and hope they show empty space on the same dates. I wouldn’t worry so much about getting enough sleep or eating the right food or not wasting money. I still wouldn’t be rich, but if I used my savings, I would have more than enough. I would buy people the Christmas presents I really wanted them to have. I would buy the clothes I really wanted to wear. Maybe I would quit my job so that I could have Saturdays off. But then again, I could have any day of the week off if I wanted to. I would have more dinner parties. I would have more parties. I would stay later at parties that I was enjoying without worrying about sleep, and leave parties where I wasn’t having fun, without worrying about seeming impolite or boring. I would eat at fancy restaurants more often. I would go the movies, on my own if no one else was available, when there was something I wanted to see. I would spend more time in used bookstores, wishing I could read everything, but finding some strange joy in at least reading every title. I would spend whatever time was necessary to read all the books friends and family have recommended to me over the past few years.

Why wouldn’t I spend my last six months traveling the world? Even if I could afford it, who would go with me? I wouldn’t want to be alone, while experiencing so many exciting things. I wouldn’t want to spend time waiting for buses and trains and flights, forgetting my belongings along the way, wondering what my friends would say if they were with me. And I wouldn’t want someone to take a semester off to spend it with me, just because I was going to die soon. No, I would stay where I am now, but take some short vacations – expensive weekend trips to European capitals, a visit or two to my friend in France, a few weeks in Massachusetts to say good-bye to the places where I grew up. I’m not sure if I would have time to go to China again, or to India or Japan or any African or South American country; maybe if I found out I had a whole year.

I suppose what I should say is that I would spend my last six months doing charity work or saving the world in some way, since I didn’t have to worry about money. I would certainly try to do something, maybe exchanging my current Saturday job for volunteer work somewhere where I was actually needed. But it would have to be in Oslo. I wouldn’t be willing to spend my last six months far away from my friends and family. This is arguably a selfish choice, but I think I would be entitled to a little selfishness if I were dying.

About six months later, the University of Oslo would be starting the spring 2007 exams. My friends would be anxious and sleep-deprived, and I would be happy whenever I could pretend to someone that I was stressed about exams too. I would be stressed though, but in the way much worse than I can really imagine now. I would be thinking: “If my friends don’t finish this book by tomorrow, they won’t know what they need to know for an exam, but if I don’t finish this book by tomorrow, I will never know how it ends. If I don’t see this movie soon, I never will. If I don’t have lunch with this person now, I may never have the chance to see them again.” At that time, I would wish that I didn’t know, that I had signed up for the boring subjects and was getting ready for the difficult exam and that I was falling asleep over my notes and spending coffee breaks staring out the window, shaking my head and murmuring: “This will never work out,” without any idea that it didn’t matter. I would miss the sense of accomplishment and moving forwards that comes with preparing for an exam, even when you don’t feel ready. I would remind people that: “Hey, you’re doing this out of your own free will. This is something you want to do, for fun!” and they would shake their heads at me and ask if I was trying to make it worse. But if I could really choose, I wouldn’t want to know ahead of time that I only had six months. I would gladly choose the stress of preparing for the future over the stress of not having one.

Posted by Julie at 5:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 22, 2006

Christmas Wish List

What I want:

  1. music (here are suggestions and more suggestions)
  2. a DVD player
  3. DVDs
  4. in general: stuff for my apartment
  5. clothes. Clothes are always good. Except I don't really have room in my closet. But who cares, I have the attic and the basement.
  6. Amazon.com gift certificates. Like clothes, they always work.
  7. believe me, I wouldn't mind "experience" type gifts either, like tickets for things or promises to make me dinner or take me somewhere or whatever. Be creative.
  8. a couple of big cushions that I can put in the attic and use as extra seats when I have more party guests than chairs
  9. more room on my hard disc (or an alternative way of storing music/pictures)
  10. things that you put under hot things to protect the table (there is no word for this in Norwegian, and I can't remember if there is one in English)
  11. coasters
  12. large wine glasses (I just bought six "Sentimento Salina" glasses from Hadeland, so now I don't really need this anymore, unless you want to add more from the same series)
  13. theater tickets

What I don't want:

  1. jewellery. This may sound harsh, and I will probably love any jewellery I actually recieve. So if you have a particular piece of jewellery in mind, and this is a well-thought-out special gift, go for it. But don't go out and buy me jewellery because you can't think of anything else. I have so much of it now I don't have time to wear it all, and I end up wearing the same things over and over.
  2. notebooks. I am particular about what I write in, and no matter how cute the cover is, I won't use if it isn't right. I already have a drawer full of beautiful little notebooks that I will probably never use.
  3. anything for my apartment that isn't returnable. I might already have something similar, and if you read Norwegian, you know how I hate the very idea of interior decorating stuff that can't be returned.
I now realize that I haven't mentioned books and coffee. I guess that just goes without saying.

Posted by Julie at 10:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

Thoughts after my first Security Council session

I wonder if real diplomats come home after maintaining international peace and security and think: "Oh crap, my basil plant died while I was sending an envoy to Iraq and now the only thing eatable in my apartment is a bag of peanuts."

I just came home from a Model United Nations (MUN) in Copenhagen, organized by DANMUN. The Security Council was called into session because of the threat to international peace and security caused by the assassination of the mayor of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. After three days in session, we condemned the PKK  (this is the official site)as a terrorist organization, sent a UN envoy to mediate the situation in Kirkuk, and finished by adding Japan to the axis of evil (just to appease the delegates from Congo after some incident at an unbelievable Chinese restaurant with free beer.)

As a delegate for the Russian Federation, I am amazed at how long I can go without sleep, coffee and food for the sake of world peace. Although real diplomats probably do not stay at hostels or travel internationally by bus, I would like to recommend both Danhostel and Lavprisekpressen. They are both excellent and wonderfully cheap. The Russian delegation shared a room with a delegate from Peru and a delegate from Congo, as well as an ever-changing "new guy" in the sixth bed. Most of these new people kept very different hours from us, mainly because they always slept, and we never did. Seriously. We stumbled in at 5AM and set our alarms for 7.

So what is a MUN? It is a game basically, but it isn't fun unless you take it seriously. The rules are: each member of the UN Security Council is represented by delegates and these delegates hold formal sessions with rules of procedure based on the real sc rules. Both in session, and in the lobby outside the session, delegates work to solve international problems while maintaining their own national interests.

The rules of procedure became habit, until the Russian delegation found ourselves speaking diplomat English to eachother outside session, even though we all speak Norwegian and two of us (not including me) also speak Russian. We were saying things like:

"Motion to eat at this vegetarian buffet restaurant I once went to."
"I rule that out of order, as we cannot find that restaurant. This delegate would also like to point out that she will veto any draft resolutions even suggesting dinner at McDonalds."
"That is very much in order. Motion to suspend search for restaurant in order to buy coffee."
"I second that motion."

I intend to continue, both this post (in order to give more information) and diplomat-speak (in order to annoy Ingvild), but not right now. I miss sleeping and drinking water. 


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