April 21, 2011

I can't take my eyes off of you... 'til I find somebody new

Closer opens with Natalie Portman and Jude Law in slow motion, to the sound of Damien Rice. You would think the scene were designed specifically to appeal to my senses - well, mine and most girls my age in 2004.

I saw this movie twice in the movie theater back then, and I bought Damien Rice's album O because of this scene. Most of my friends found the movie depressing. My boss voiced vague concerns about my mental health* when I played O at work. But I don't feel depressed when I hear sad music or see a sad story about four more or less messed up people. If you're feeling blue and for some ridiculous reason want to drag yourself even further down, watch a romantic comedy. Wonder why your life doesn't look like that. If you want to be feel better, seek catharsis. I find sad movies somewhat comforting in their brutal honesty - and in the way they remind me that at least I'm not a character in Closer.

And so, seven years and another Damien Rice album later, I'm still fascinated and impressed by how complex Closer manages to be, even though it's just four characters interacting in a handful of scenes over a period of four years. The trailer tagline is "If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking." It's about dating, cheating, hurting people, but actually it's about how even when we're trying to be confident, rational and responsible, emotions and impulses can lead us to make decisions we know are stupid and hurtful.

Of course I identify with Natalie Portman's character because she's the one who plays a 24-year-old girl. But she's also the one who tells her possessive, complicated writer boyfriend, when he's just announced that although he loves her, he's leaving her for someone he just helplessly fell in love with:

"Oh, as if you had no choice?!?! There's a moment, there's always a moment: I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it. And I don't know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one."

To her, the only way to leave is by saying: I don't love you anymore. Good-bye. And if you still love someone, you don't leave. Which means that while she seems to submit completely and love unconditionally, it's with the knowledge that she has absolute unbreakable rules about how things are supposed to work. Like in her job as a stripper, she gives everything, up until a certain irrevocable limit.

And I think that's the point of this story, which so many of my friends found pointless: How much control do we really have over our emotions? When do we stop acting rationally? When does the game suddenly become too real? Or as Roger Ebert writes in a review you really shouldn't read until after you've seen the film:

There is the sense that their trusts and betrayals are not fundamentally important to them; "You've ruined my life," one says, and then is told, "You'll get over it."

Yes, unless, fatally, true love does strike at just that point when all the lies have made it impossible. Is there anything more pathetic than a lover who realizes he (or she) really is in love, after all the trust has been lost, all the bridges burnt and all the reconciliations used up?

(Vaguely) related post: Love means not leaving

* I'm doing very well, thank you. If you're not as happy as I am, here are 11 ways to feel better.

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December 28, 2010

Is foie gras ok after all?

In Why foie gras is not unethical, food site Serious Eats investigates the conditions at American foie gras farms. According to their research, ducks are fine with being force-fed so their livers grow to ten percent of their total body weight (there's a video of the process, called gavage, in the article). The life of a foie gras duck is - apparently - more comfortable than the life of an average chicken.

So why does foie gras have a bad reputation? J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt writes:

"In large part, it's because foie gras is an easy target. There are only three foie farms in the country, and none of them have the money or government clout to defend themselves the way that the chicken or beef industry does. It's a food product that is marketed directly at the affluent, and the rich are always an easy target. As an occasional delicacy, it's also a food that's relatively easy for most people to give up.

Personally, I find this kind of protesting abhorrent. If you are going to protest anything, it should be the industrial production of eggs, where chickens are routinely kept in cages so small that they can't even turn around for an entire year. The problem, of course, is that you tell people to stop eating cheap eggs, and nobody will listen."

It's the same point I tried to make about fur last year: The debate is confusing, boycotting something you would never buy anyway is useless, and (assuming you're ok with animals being killed by human beings at all) it should be possible to produce these products ethically.

I love the taste of foie gras, but are French farms as gentle as the American ones? Can I believe the information in this article? Or is the real story here that I should avoid eggs (at least in the US)?

Photo: ulterior epicure (Creative Commons)

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December 26, 2010

Stuff to read

Looking around the internet for interesting articles and blog posts, now that you're on Christmas vacation and finally have time to read? Here are some suggestions.

True story: I survived a crazy childhood I like Sarah Von's True Story series, where she posts interviews of people with interesting experiences on her blog.  I recommend the one about the ex-stripper and the one about the ex-drug addict too.

Charm offensive by Paul Carr - How British men pulled off the most brilliant PR coup the world has ever seen.

The real cost of free by Cory Doctorow - "Those who say that they can control copies are wrong, and they will not profit by their strategy. They should be entitled to ruin their own lives, businesses and careers, but not if they're going to take down the rest of society in the process."

A holiday message about being an atheist by Ricky Gervais - "You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts."

How the rise of e-readers takes the fun out of giving books by Leah McLaren. I still want to do a whole blog post on this one, but in the meantime, just read it.

The real "stuff white people like" from Gizmodo. "How are whites, blacks, Asians, whoever different from everybody else? What tastes, interests, and concepts define an ethnicity? Is there any way to make fun of other races in public and get away with it? These are big questions, and here's how we answered them."

What we can learn from procrastination - You put off reading this article when I first tweeted about it. Now you have time!

Picture source

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December 3, 2010

Dagens blogger: Lyspunkt i hverdagen

3. desember bør du lese bloggen Lyspunkt i hverdagen. Den har en helt annen stil enn bloggene jeg har anbefalt hittil. Lyspunkt har flere bilder, og det er lite politikk og økonomi her.

Det er ikke lenge siden jeg oppdaget denne, men konseptet ser ut til å være at @lyspunkt deler små hverdagsgleder. Det er det mange bloggere som gjør, men såvidt jeg kan se, klarer Lyspumkt å være koselig uten å falle i to av de vanligste kosebloggfellene (nei, jeg skal ikke nevne navn på bloggere i kosebloggfeller):

Felle 1: "Se så koselig JEG har det, sammen med verdens beste kjæreste, verdens mest fantastiske venner, og alt jeg har kjøpt. Hadde du hatt det samme som meg, hadde du også hatt det koselig og vært like glad som MEG."

Felle 2: "Sitat. Klisjé. Dårlig dikt. Kornete "kunstnerisk" foto med hipstamatic-effekter. Sangtekst. Originalt innhold er for de ikke-koselige."

I stedet er Lyspunkt litt som 1000 Awesome Things. Ikke i stil, men i budskap. Og budskapet er: Vi minner om at livet faktisk er ganske kult, sånn generelt.

Blogg: Små lyspunkt er mye verdt!
Twitter: @lyspunkt

Utvalgte innlegg:
Surfing på bussen
Lyspunkt - en pose med Twist
Hjerter overalt

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December 1, 2010

Dagens blogger: Espen Andersen


1. post i julekalenderen der jeg anbefaler norske bloggere! La oss ta det forutsigbare først: Klart jeg anbefaler pappa.

I tilfelle noen som leser oss begge ikke har skjønt det ennå: Espen Andersen er min far. Det var han som opprinnelig fikk meg til å begynne å blogge way back i 2005. Det hender vi er skummelt samkjørte på internett. Vi liker begge å blogge om økonomi, teknologi og bøker, men pappa blogger ikke så ofte om klærne sine - selv om den norske bloggen, Tversover, er oppkalt etter hans yndlingsklesplagg. Her dukker også andre skriverier opp, for eksempel innleggene i E24. På Applied Abstractions skriver pappa på engelsk, og her finnes blant mye annet korte anmeldelser av de fleste bøkene han leser og liker.

Blogger: Applied Abstractions + Tversover
Twitter: @espenandersen

Utvalgte innlegg:
Forskning om ME
11 grunner til å velge matematikk
Lærerkvalitet viktigere enn noe annet

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September 6, 2010

Overheard in the newsroom

I love Overheard in the Newsroom. Deeply. Here are a few favorites:

Reporter: “When I’m plagiarized by the competition, I’ll know I finally made it.” (I've made it. )

Copy chief: “You know that there are no points for making the headline more interesting than the story, right?” (What? But that's my job description!)

Managing editor to reporter who keeps asking questions: “The internet is RIGHT THERE.” (I both love and hate it when co-workers ask me before they ask Google. I send links like this a lot.)

Editor: “You’ve done a lot today, pretend like you’re doing something important until you leave.” (This sounds familiar, along the lines of "Julie, go get yourself a cup of coffee, now!")

Five-year-old boy to reporter interviewing people at snow cone stand: “You’re gonna need a bigger notebook if you’re gonna write a whole story.” (Aww... But I am extremely picky about my notebooks. They are just the right size, thank you very much.)

Photographer, while eating cake during budget meeting: “A life without cake is a life that is sad and empty.” (My newsroom seems to follow this philosophy.)

Copy editor: “If I got paid for every comma I fix, I’d be set for life.” (I fix my co-workers' comma- and spelling-mistakes in secret. There, I've said it.)

Illustration via nongenderous

Updated: I found an archive of favorite Overheards that I completely forgot I had saved. Here they are...

News Reporter to colleague: “I don’t believe in anything,” she said, then paused. “I believe in coffee.”


J-School student: “Each of these little failures makes me feel more and more like a journalist.”


Photographer to Producer: “Our computers are so slow I could drive to Google and get the information faster.”


Reporter to Copy Editor: “I’d take the ‘journalism’ out of it and just start looking at jobs.com.”


Co-worker to spouse over the phone: “When am I going to be able to come home? Is never a time?”


Copy editor: ‘One of these days, we’re all going to snap. They won’t say we’re going postal. They’ll say we’re going journalist.”


Reporter: “There’s something wrong when I see ‘Newspaper reporter killed’ in a headline and my first thought is ‘Sweet. Job opening.’ ”


City Editor after sneezing: “Goodness, I’m allergic to deadline.”


Reporter: “I always tell editors: ‘I can only be in two places at once.’ ”

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September 5, 2010

A finalist in the race of life

Speaking of realizing one's own mortality, I am fascinated by Christopher Hitchens' series of articles about cancer. In part one, he writes:

The alien had colonized a bit of my lung as well as quite a bit of my lymph node. And its original base of operations was located—had been located for quite some time—in my esophagus. My father had died, and very swiftly, too, of cancer of the esophagus. He was 79. I am 61. In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist. (...) I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read—if not indeed write—the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger? But I understand this sort of non-thinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity. Of course my book hit the best-seller list on the day that I received the grimmest of news bulletins, and for that matter the last flight I took as a healthy-feeling person (to a fine, big audience at the Chicago Book Fair) was the one that made me a million-miler on United Airlines, with a lifetime of free upgrades to look forward to. But irony is my business and I just can’t see any ironies here: would it be less poignant to get cancer on the day that my memoirs were remaindered as a box-office turkey, or that I was bounced from a coach-class flight and left on the tarmac? To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?

In the second part, atheist Hitchens answers those who are praying for him:

The absorbing fact about being mortally sick is that you spend a good deal of time preparing yourself to die with some modicum of stoicism (and provision for loved ones), while being simultaneously and highly interested in the business of survival. This is a distinctly bizarre way of “living”—lawyers in the morning and doctors in the afternoon—and means that one has to exist even more than usual in a double frame of mind. The same is true, it seems, of those who pray for me. (...) Praying for what? As with many of the Catholics who essentially pray for me to see the light as much as to get better, they were very honest. Salvation was the main point. “We are, to be sure, concerned for your health, too, but that is a very secondary consideration. ‘For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul?’ [Matthew 16:26.]” (...) what if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating.

This is an ongoing series, which I will definitely be following.

Related blog posts:

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June 11, 2010


"Apple leverer den fysiske rammen for opplevelsen. De er de gamle medienes produsenter av papir, vinyl, platespillere og tv-apparater i ett. Men de kontrollerer også det eneste distribusjonspunktet for innhold; de er Posten, Narvesen, bokhandlerne, Platekompaniet og hele dagligvarehandelen samlet i én nettadresse."

Det skriver Sven Egil Omdal (@svelle) i en svært velskrevet tekst om Apples sensurering av apps-innhold på Ipod og Ipad. Les den.

I NRKBeta skriver Marius Arnesen: "Tanken om at en litt sær teknologiguru i San Fransisco skal bestemme hvilket innhold jeg har tilgang til i min hverdag, liker jeg svært dårlig." Så sammenligner han Apple med Nord-Korea. Eirik Newth etterlyser protest fra redaktører når Apple tar over retten til å bestemme hva som publiseres i norske medier. Per Kristian Bjørkeng beskriver konkurransen mellom Google og Apple som kampen mellom fritt/rotete og pent/sensurert.

Uansett hvilket merke du har på datamaskinen/telefonen/musikkspilleren, anbefaler jeg deg å sette deg inn i debatten.

Illustrasjon: Martin Krzywinski CreativeCommons

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January 31, 2010

Verdien av Precious

Bør du se den som samfunnskritikk eller enkeltstående drama? Svar: Bare se den.

En film om en overvektig, fattig, mishandlet, svart 16-årig tobarnsmor som lærer å lese kan feile på så mange måter. Precious kunne blitt en klisjéfylt tårefremkaller eller et følelsesløst, voldelig sjokk. Eller den kunne vært en dypt deprimerende film som du vet er bra, men aldri orker å se. Regissør Lee Daniels tok på seg et risikabelt prosjekt da han filmatiserte romanen Push av Sapphire. Men publikum har reagert med jubel (15 minutters stående applaus ved Cannes-festivalen) – og med debatter om hudfarge, fattigdom og barnemishandling.

Det vil bli spennende å se hvordan filmen blir tatt i mot i Norge. Her vil enda færre av filmens seere kjenne seg igjen i 1980-årenes Harlem i New York City. Den grunnleggende historien er universell – eller er den det? På sett og vis er det nettopp det spaltister, anmeldere og bloggere har diskutert de siste tre månedene: Handler Precious om Precious, eller handler den om USA?

Handlingen kan i hvert fall beskrives slik: I 1987 blir Precious kastet ut av skolen fordi hun er gravid igjen. Barnets far er – som forrige gang – hennes egen far. Precious begynner på en alternativ skole og møter for første gang en lærer som gjør et skikkelig forsøk på å nå frem til henne. Hjemme hos moren Mary – fantastisk spilt av Mo'nique – får Precious ingen støtte. Mary ga engang datteren et navn som betyr “verdifull”, men nå misbruker hun henne fysisk, psykisk og seksuelt. Hver dag blir Precious minnet om at hun ikke er verdt noe som helst.

Når denne bekmørke handlingen ikke etterlater publikum i håpløse tårer, er det mye takket være filmens hovedperson, spilt av nykommeren Gabourey Sidibe. Fortellerstemmen hennes og bildene vi får se av hennes eget indre liv – hvor hun går på en rød løper, synger, danser og ikke minst smiler – gir filmen noen øyeblikk med nødvendig humor og glede. Heldigvis taes heller ikke de enkleste gråtfremkallende Hollywood-triks i bruk. Filmens oppbygging er mer som en dokumentar enn et tradisjonelt drama. Det finnes ingen triumferende klassisk musikk idet Precious overvinner alle hindringer, ingen sentimentale monologer og fremfor alt ingen enkle løsninger. Filmen vil at vi skal tenke, ikke gråte. Det nærmeste filmen kommer en fasit er å antyde at utdannelse er veien opp.

Anmeldere har både rost og kritisert filmen som “en film om rase”, men Precious avslører flere lag med ubehagelige fordommer også mellom svarte amerikanere. Precious ønsker seg en “lyshudet” (altså ikke nødvendigvis hvit) kjæreste, og filmens slanke, pene og lyshudede personer er de mest vellykkede. Som en kontrast til disse er Precious og moren ikke bare tunge og mørke, men også uvitende og fattige trygdemisbrukere. Filmen kan vekke avsky hos publikum som ikke kjenner seg igjen i filmens miljø. “Jeg liker McDonalds” sier Precious til en sykepleier som foreslår organiske grønnsaker i stedet – som om organiske grønnsaker ville vært et reelt alternativ for en trygdet sekstenåring i Harlem i 1987.

Er USA klar for denne filmen?” spurte New York Times to uker før USA-premieren. Det er ofte historiens kontekst som har blitt anmeldt. Det kan være fordi filmen er påfallende lite fokusert på verden rundt hovedpersonen, selv om Precious selvfølgelig ikke lider i et vakuum.

Kanskje filmen hadde tjent på en mer detaljert skildring av samfunnet rundt Precious. Det er sjelden vi blir minnet på at handlingen foregår på åttitallet. 1987 var etter at crack kokain hadde inntatt Harlem, men før bydelen ble pusset opp og New Yorks politi ble strengere. Vi kommer heller ikke inn på menneskene utenfor leiligheten til Mary og Precious. De virker nærmest feilfrie, selv når de ikke klarer å hjelpe hovedpersonen. Mo'nique skildrer Mary som et offer og en psykopat på samme tid, men selv hennes kompliserte rolletolkning etterlater oss i uvisshet. Er Precious et worst-case-scenario for å banke inn en moral, virkeligheten for alt for mange barn, eller rett og slett en enkeltstående fortelling? Trenger vi å bry oss, eller er filmens miljø for langt borte i tid og sted?

Kanskje vi bare skal bestemme oss for at debattene ikke betyr noe. Kunstverk bør ikke alltid oppleves som samfunnskritikk. Precious kjemper en indre kamp gjennom å lære seg å skrive ned sin egen historie, og det gjør filmen severdig i seg selv.

Hva slags skole gir toppkarakterer til en elev som ikke kan lese, så lenge hun holder kjeft? Hvilken bestemor kan se sitt barnebarn og tippoldebarn bli utnyttet og misbrukt, uten å gjøre mer enn å riste på hodet? Hvordan kan et velferdssystem gjøre det så enkelt å falle gjennom? Og hvordan kunne Mary bli en så grusomt dårlig mor? Det finnes dokumentarfilmer og fagbøker som forsøker å svare. Se Precious fordi den vil få deg til å stille spørsmålene.


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January 26, 2010

Jakten på en død manns liv

Men hvem var du, egentlig? Hadde du noen? Det skal ta Magasinet 550 telefoner, en flere uker lang, tung reise ned i Oslos glemte verden, før vi nærmer oss noen svar.

22. oktober 2009 ble Jan Erik Fosshaug begravet uten en eneste venn eller pårørende til stede. Bernt Jakob Oksnes har skrevet om letingen etter den ensomme mannens livshistorie i Dagbladet Magasinet.

Jeg er glad for at norsk journalistikk kan være så stillferdig, grundig og rørende som dette.

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January 25, 2010

Too busy to write, so I’ll teach you how to read

Long-time readers may know what this picture means: I am literally buried in word-related work. Except now, in 2010, there are fewer books and more computer files to be read, written, edited, sent and uploaded. So the buried part is not so literal anymore.

While I write a news article, a media commentary column, a movie review and a summary of a book chapter, you can read How to win at reading academic articles from the blog An Improbable Fiction.

Like the author of that post, I spent my time at university struggling with the dual burdens of popularity and belief that I could take on extra courses. But I managed, because I can (usually) read and understand things pretty quickly. You can too! There are many, many techniques for doing so, but today, I'm recommending a combination of reading and note-taking described here.

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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.

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November 13, 2009

Life is interesting

Remember I told you to remind yourself that the world is an interesting place? Watch this.

I found it on Yes and Yes, where the comment was: "Doesn't this make you want to hug life?"

"Inspirational" videos can be so annoying. But as I watched this, with gray November skies outside and my brain going "Coffee... Coffee...", I thought: "Oh yeah, you're right. Everyday life is kind of interesting, isn't it?"

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March 30, 2009

Andre bloggere blogger

"Jeg husker fremdeles hun som i forbifarten på vei ut av trikken fortalte meg hvor godt hun likte skoene mine, og det er hvert fall fire år siden. Hun skulle bare visst at jeg fremdeles tenker på henne i blant," skriver Frøken Makeløs

Hjartesmil gir meg en grunn til å dra til Stavanger (til venstre). Så skriver hun:

"mitt liv på vidaregåande fortsatte med ein konstant verkande klump i magen som heitte "eg har ingen heime." etter kvart vart det ein ganske stor klump. og det var det heilt til eg berre bestemte meg for å gløyma dei"

"Ein må kanskje tørre å bry seg litt om ein skal hindre vold," skriver Anne Viken.

Og Kristin linker til dette:

"Kvinner blir først frigitt i gisselsituasjoner. De får gå først i livbåtene. De har en spesiell plass i hjertet til nyhetsoppleserne når ulykken er ute. De er mindre utsatt for kriminalitet. De kan, i motsetning til menn, gjøre flere ting samtidig. De har full kontroll over barna. Det er kvinner som bestemmer hjemme. Hva fanken er det vi menn har? Hva er det vi har som er "vårt"? Hva er det vi har som kan rettferdiggjøre alt dette?
Svar: Vi har evnen til å gå forbi en skobutikk uten å kjøpe noe. Og så har vi litt høyere lønn."

Posted by Julie at 9:09 PM | TrackBack

Oslo-caféer med internett

Thomas har laget oversikt over caféer i Oslo med strøm og internett. Hurra for Thomas!

Han nevner blant annet Stockfleth's, The Fragrance of the Heart, Litteraturhuset og Tea Lounge.

Selv anbefaler jeg Kaffe Gram.

Posted by Julie at 8:53 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2009

Andre bloggere blogger

Vampus skriver at alternativ-industrien bør slutte å utnytte desperate mennesker.

Henrik Akselsen skriver at utesteder bør kunne stenge når de vil.

Anne Viken skriver at økologisk mat ikke nødvendigvis betyr bedre dyrevelferd.

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December 16, 2008

Coffee stains

What is this? Find out.

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December 9, 2008

Window shopping

You may have pennies in your pocket and not a prospect in the world, and only the corner of a leaky bedroom to go home to; but in your new clothes, you can stand on a street corner, indulging in a private daydream of yourself as Marlene Dietrich. - George Orwell, 1937

There is something to be said for retail therapy. It does not work in the long term, but pretty things have an immediate calming effect.

The one time I actually bought something on a retail therapy shopping trip, it was my one (!) pair of painful shoes, and it was after a disastrous macro economics exam. They made my feet bleed, but they're still shiny and low-cut and go with everything (silver and gold goes with everything!)

The safest and most enjoyable window shopping is after the shops close. I recommend Avenue Montaigne at night. But browser-window shopping is more convenient, and still safe if you keep your credit card in another room. And so... some fashion links.





In addition to recommending D2 and The Guardian Fashion here are the style blogs I subscribe to right now:

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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.

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September 6, 2008

Kosmetisk kirurgi

Min første reaksjon til temaet kosmetisk kirurgi - rent kosmetiske endringer av friske mennesker - er: "nei". Ikke "NEI! Aldri! Uakseptabelt og forkastelig!", men "nei". Dagens Næringslivs D2 skrev om plastisk kirurgi i dag. Det er en ganske balansert artikkel, om hvordan nordmenn kjøper kosmetisk kirurgi stadig oftere, at teknologien er blitt langt mer avansert, og at det er delte meninger om skjønnhetsidealer er uforanderlige eller resultat av endringer i moten.

Jeg leser, og jeg begynner å lure på hvorfor jeg ikke liker kosmetisk kirurgi. Når jeg påberoper meg å kunne være politisk motstander av alt jeg bare ikke liker, innebærer det at jeg må begrunne hvorfor jeg ikke liker noe. I hvert fall overfor meg selv.

Jeg kan ikke forsvare hudpleietimer og designundertøy og så fordømme kosmetiske inngrep fordi det er overdådig, jålete luksus. Selv om det er det. Og det er ikke akkurat slik at pengene som i dag brukes på silikonpupper, ellers ville blitt sendt til fattige barn på den andre siden av verden. De ville heller blitt brukt på mer hudpleietimer og designundertøy (altså noe jeg er politisk for, men det er nok ikke et godt argument i seg selv...)

Jeg kan heller ikke si som jeg gjør med for eksempel narkotika eller dumhet på fly: "Det er i teorien ens eget valg, men dessverre berører det alltid andre. Dermed forbyr jeg det med belegg i Kardemommeloven." Enn så lenge tror jeg nemlig staten slipper å betale for vedlikehold av silikonpupper. Man kan kanskje problematisere det at legers ekspertise brukes til å utvikle mer "naturlige" rynkefrie ansikter fremfor å kurere kreft, men jeg synes det argumentet er litt søkt. Ikke mye, men litt.

Jeg ville ikke selv vært fornøyd hvis en del av kroppen min ikke egentlig var kroppen min, men jeg kan ikke akkurat påtvinge den tankegangen på noen.

Akkurat i det jeg lurer på om jeg må revurdere mitt "nei", blir jeg reddet av Wenche Steen, daglig leder i Hud og Hårklinikken.

Hun sier: "Jeg har aldri tatt en plastisk operasjon, bortsett fra det alle gjør da. (...) Jeg synes nesten aldri jeg kommer over noen som har naturlig pene pupper."

Så forklarer den australske kirurgen Daniel Fleming "Det som ser naturlig ut for dem [hans kunder], er det forstørrede utseendet. Man ser ikke naturlige bryster i bladene lenger."

Jeg beklager, men dette liker jeg ikke. "Æsj, nei." Jeg kan ikke fordømme enkeltpersoner som velger kosmetiske inngrep, men et samfunn der man ikke er pen før man har betalt for det, er bare fælt.

Posted by Julie at 4:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Stephen Fry

From Stephen Fry's blog:

Digital devices rock my world. This might be looked on by some as a tragic admission. Not ballet, opera, the natural world, Stephen? Not literature, theatre or global politics? Even sport would be less mournfully inward and dismally unsociable.

Well, people can be dippy about all things digital and still read books, they can go to the opera and watch a cricket match and apply for Led Zeppelin tickets without splitting themselves asunder. Very little is as mutually exclusive as we seem to find it convenient to imagine. In our culture we are becoming more and more fixated with an “it’s one thing or the other” mentality. You like Thai food? But what’s wrong with Italian? Woah, there… calm down. I like both. Yes. It can be done. I can like rugby football and the musicals of Stephen Sondheim. High Victorian Gothic and the installations of Damien Hirst. Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and the piano works of Hindemith. English hymns and Richard Dawkins. First editions of Norman Douglas and iPods. Snooker, darts and ballet. Such a list isn’t a boast, it doesn’t make one an all-rounder to rival Michelangelo, it’s how humans are constructed. Adaptable, varied, versatile. So, believe me, a love of gizmos doesn’t make me averse to paper, leather and wood, old-fashioned Christmases, Preston Sturges films and country walks. Nor does it automatically mean I read Terry Pratchett, breathe only through my mouth and bring my head slightly too close to the bowl when I eat soup. (None of the above, I grant you, excuses a 50-year-old for saying that anything “rocks his world”; that’s just too horrid and must stop.)

I'm not 50. Stephen Fry rocks my world.

Posted by Julie at 12:33 PM | TrackBack

July 10, 2008

I serien "andre bloggere skriver kloke ting som kan regnes som politisk ukorrekte"...

... la meg presentere:

Elever har litt for mange rettigheter: "For å si det litt enkelt: før var det elevens ansvar å sørge for å få med seg undervisningen. Nå er det skolens ansvar å passe på (og "dokumentere", selvsagt) at den har gitt eleven den nødvendige undervisningen som eleven har "krav" på."

Enkelte lider av post-kolonialt stress syndrom: "Det er noe ekstremt nedlatende over de som snakker som om kun hvite vesteuropeere alene er skyld i eller kan gjøre noe for land i Afrika."

Det er vanskelig å respektere andres tro og samtidig redde liv: "If a patient tells me that the voices that he hears direct him to do things, then I consider that he may have a mental health problem; however if they tell me that God (whichever one takes your fancy) has told them something then I can't challenge that."

Posted by Julie at 12:14 PM | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

Norge setter ikke standarden for utdanning

Dette er en av disse artiklene som jeg kunne kommentert så mye at jeg ikke en gang tør å begynne. Men jeg kjenner at flere lange poster om utdanning i Norge contra andre steder i verden er på vei. Ettersom jeg har andre skriveforpliktelser først, får dere lese hva Anders Fjelland Bentsen, i ANSA, skriver i mellomtiden.

Takk til Ingar for link til artikkelen. Og legg forresten merke til at en lengre utgave av artikkelen kommer i Argument snart. Hurra for Argument, hvor jeg nå er medlem av samfunnsredaksjonen.

Posted by Julie at 3:28 PM | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Julie at 6:43 PM | TrackBack

January 15, 2008

Other people have been blogging

To make up for my unbelievable lack of posting, here are a few other posts you can read:

What did we do in 1996? So much has changed in twelve years. I can't wait for the future.

Childfree or childless?  Not wanting kids doesn't make you selfish or empty.

Babies in the fast lane No, they are not always cute. 

Social networking is yesterday's news "(...) even in the futuristic world of the net, the next big thing might just be a return to a made-over old thing."

Notes to my younger self What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time? 

Posted by Julie at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

October 22, 2007

Før du eventuelt kjøper Sony Ericsson T250i fra xd.no...

Anna sliter med både Sony Ericsson og nettstedet xd.no, og hun prøver å bruke bloggerens makt. Jeg har etterhvert sett at jeg kommer skummelt høyt opp på søkemotorer, slik at hva jeg skriver om ting faktisk kan tenkes å nå lesere jeg ikke kjenner personlig. Og jeg vet at kommentarer som denne kan gi resultater som dette. Derfor tenker jeg at all linking hjelper.

før du kjøper Sony Ericsson T250i fra xd.no, les dette.

Posted by Julie at 9:52 PM | TrackBack

March 29, 2007

Principles vs. practice

Interesting article about small private schools for the very poor in Hyderabad, India, and James Tooley, who has researched them. Quotes:

"The reason you haven’t heard of James Tooley is that his work is something of an embarrassment to the official aid and development industry. He has demonstrated something that many development professionals would rather not know—and would prefer that you not know, either. (...) The consensus on economic development—specifically, on the role of the state in promoting growth—cycles to and fro. At the moment, orthodox thinking embraces a leading role for the market in most areas of economic life. But in most developing countries, as in many rich ones (including the United States), schooling is widely regarded as quite another matter. Children’s education is higher than commerce. These realms must not be allowed to mix. Many development and education officials wish to enshrine free education as a universal human right. Education, in other words, is too important to be left to the market. (...) Tooley has been publishing his research in education journals but has also written for libertarian and conservative think tanks. Unfortunately, these associations have pushed him further outside the development mainstream."

A friend of mine who did a year or so of Developmental Studies before starting law school, complained that his classmates picked on him for reading The Economist and suggesting that "maybe it is possible to say something positive about the US". He told me that Developmental Studies drew two conclusions: 1. The world is in deep trouble. 2. American capitalism is behind this trouble. Now, (I hope) that was an exaggeration. But the main conclusion of my International Economics class was "free trade is the answer"; a conclusion that didn't go down that well if some of my more left-leaning classmates. We all know that one should try to keep one's own political ideals separate from serious research, but it's easier said than done. If everyone at Developmental Studies votes for the same party, and everyone at Economics votes for another party, we'll have a problem after these people graduate.

I was hoping that these thoughts were just speculations, and that people grow up and learn that the world is not black and white. Hopefully, they do. But apparently, even grown-ups argue about political principles when they should be concerned with what really works in the real world.

Posted by Julie at 2:04 PM | TrackBack

March 14, 2007

Blogging fra Egypt

Tora, som jeg studerer sammen med og som for tiden tar et semester i Egypt, har skrevet en tankevekkende liten kommentar om politisk blogging og ytringsfrihet. (Fra Internasjonalen, en fellesblogg for flere av medstudentene mine.)

Posted by Julie at 2:31 PM | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

En måte å bli samfunnsøkonom på

En historie om hvordan Iskwew gikk fra å skulle ta statsvitenskap og jobbe i UD til å bli økonom - mest på trass.

Posted by Julie at 12:36 PM | TrackBack

February 16, 2007

Rot i systemet

Heidi skriver en liste med forslag (med fordeler og ulemper for hvert forslag) for hva man kan gjøre med forelskelse.

Og mens vi først er inne på temaet "tekster som beskriver hvordan ordensmennesker tenker når de er forelsket", her er en linje fra sangen "Mystery" av Indigo Girls, som jeg ikke får ut av hodet: "You set up your place in my thoughts, moved in and made my thinking crowded.

Posted by Julie at 6:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 15, 2007

Hvordan verden egentlig ser ut, del 2

Mer enn mye annet, ønsket jeg til jul at jeg kunne være her. Det fikk jeg ikke lov til. Heldigvis er foredraget til Hans Rosling på NHO-konferansen tilgjengelig for nedlasting her.

Anbefales! I hvert fall hvis du er interessert i globalisering (for eksempel hvis du går på Internasjonale Studier) og ikke har fått med deg dette. Og egentlig hvis du er interessert i fattigdom, utvikling eller hvordan det går med verden, sånn generelt. Aftenposten skrev forresten om Rosling forrige uke.

Posted by Julie at 11:45 AM | TrackBack

Matlary ønsker oss fri fra fordumming

Det er ikke alt Janne Haaland Matlary (leder for mitt studium, Internasjonale Studier) skriver som jeg synes er fantastisk, delvis fordi jeg forventer så mye av henne. Men akkurat denne teksten: en rant, (hva nå det er på norsk) over hvor dumt "forskning" i massemedia ofte er, var det veldig fint å lese. Jeg er helt enig!

Posted by Julie at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

Bra matbutikker i Oslo

Hvis man, som jeg, har lett byen rundt etter maismel, gresskarpaifyll eller ingredienser til samosa, kan denne lille guiden være nyttig. Hvis det er noen som har flere tips, er det flott - kommenter enten hos meg eller hos Jorunn.

Posted by Julie at 6:25 PM | TrackBack

December 8, 2006

How to stretch a paragraph into 300 pages

Sometimes it feels like studying for political science exams is all about reading different versions of what should be obvious in the first place, each version declaring that it is presenting a revolutionary idea and that none of the other (nearly) identical ideas are right. And sometimes it feels like writing a political science exam is all about taking a point that could be adequately explained in five sentences, and then somehow managing to stretch it into 20 (wrist-straining, handwritten) pages. 

Usually, I know that there are important differences between neo-realism and neo-liberalism, that it is important to write definitions of words like "power", "effective", "legitimate" and "nation" when using them in an exam and that references are all-important. But sometimes it feels good to read a rant about bad "academic" writing and just think: "Yeah, I'd rather be reading a novel right now." 

Oh, well. It's almost over. 

Posted by Julie at 4:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 26, 2006

Førti, feit og ferdig

Nei, da, jeg er fortsatt tjue, vil ikke akkurat kalle meg feit og føler at jeg aldri kommer til å bli ferdig (i hvert fall ikke med pensumsidene i Midtøstenhistorie), men jeg oppfordrer dere alle til å lese bloggen til Saccarina med samme tittel som denne posten.

Tror aldri jeg har lest noe på bloggen "Førti, feit og ferdig" som jeg ikke har likt. Jeg må jo bare like en blogg som har en egen kategori for posts om "Sportshat", gir husmortips til rotete mennesker og tar et oppgjør med den norske gå-tur-kulturen. Når hun til og med greier å skrive en dyp tolkning av ordene "Tripp, trapp, tresko", må jeg konkludere slik: Les! Les! Les!

Posted by Julie at 7:17 PM | TrackBack

September 10, 2006

For innbitte quiltere

Ville bare påpeke at mamma har en ny webside (i tillegg til en blogg hun har hatt en stund).

Det jeg synes er artig med denne websiden er at den ikke legger skjul på hva den er: en side for quiltenerder. For alle har (eller bør ha) noe de er litt nerder om. (For meg gir dette utslag i voldsom spenning når jeg opplever dette.) Og denne siden er ganske selvironisk. Jeg husker jeg satt utenfor en håndarbeidsmesse sammen med pappa. Vi satt trygt inne i bilen slik at vi kunne kommentere alle håndarbeidsdamene som gikk forbi. De fulgte en av to klesstiler:

  1. formingslærerstilen kjennetegnet av flagrende udefinerbare (Er det en kjole? Er det en genser? Er det et sjal? Hvem vet?) klesplagg, helst i så mange forskjellige farger og tekstiler som mulig. 
  2. lav-selvtillit-stilen kjennetegnet av klær i ulike nyanser av grått, som er bittelitt for store. Siden man er håndarbeidsdame, må man også ha på seg noe man har laget selv, og dette er ofte nærmere formingslærerstilen, noe som gir ekstra lav selvtillit den dagen. (Merkelig, for en viss selvtillit må man ha hvis man skal gå med noe man har laget selv.)

Det er med andre ord lett å gjøre narr av nerder. Og da er det viktig at nerder innenfor alle felt har en god porsjon selvironi. Dette synes jeg siden "Bare må ha det" er et godt eksempel på.

Posted by Julie at 5:27 PM | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Paperclip guy succeeds!

I promised Elisabeth I would keep my readers updated on the paperclip guy. And he has succeeded! He has traded a red paperclip for a house. See for yourself...

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

June 30, 2006

Book review: The Lexus and the Olive Tree


Don't you just love it when someone who is supposed to be an authority on something puts into words exactly the thoughts you've had going in wordless circles in your mind? I'm reading Thomas L. Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree", and I get that feeling with every page.

This book about globalization was originally written in 1999 and expanded and updated in 2000, so it's a little out of date. Not just because it was written before 9/11 (each one of my globalization text books for last year was updated end of 2001 or beginning of 2002), but because he writes sentences like "now anyone can just go down into their basement and get on the internet". These days, it's more like: "why not just open the laptop in front of you that's already on the internet?" Families don't need to have a "computer room" anymore; each family member can have their own computer and do everything online. So I'm looking forward to moving on to "The World is Flat".

After a year of International Studies, not to mention living and paying attention to the world for the last six years, I can't say I've learned a whole lot of facts from this book that I didn't already know - but he writes it so well. Friedman's central idea is that globalization is the system that took over after the Cold War ended. The internet is not a trend or a toy; it is the most important tool shaping this new system. We - leaders of both countries and companies, who increasingly think in the same way - must not only live with that, but adapt in order to make the most of it.

Friedman is able to see the whole picture, acknowledging the unfortunate environmental and cultural side effects of economic globalization without renouncing the economic upside. The Lexus represents the drive for progress and modernization - globalization. The olive tree represents the feeling of security, tradition and home - local culture. The Cold War was a struggle between olive trees, but these days, the threat to your olive tree is more likely to come from the Lexus. Friedman writes that a global homogeneous culture would mean a less interesting world, but that "to tell people in developing countries they can't have [McDonald's] because it would spoil the view and experience of people visiting from developed countries would be both insufferable arrogant and futile." Fortunately, it is possible to "use globalization against itself" by convincing countries and companies that they can actually make more money in the long run by preserving culture and nature. In general, it is usually better to give someone a real incentive to do something rather than just appeal to his or her sense of responsibility and good will. Call it selfishness, but it works, and the fact that not only the anti-capitalist movement, but also shareholders, can mobilize all over the world instantly can really provide people with the right incentives. When it comes to culture, Friedman hopes that Americans will enjoy sushi and Japanese will enjoy McDonald's, but that they will both remember which of the two is from their own country.

In short, I recommend this book. I would advise Internet/globalization sceptics to read it carefully. Anyone who already has a pretty good idea what this is about, should skim it in order to get a good review of the whole picture.

Posted by Julie at 1:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 29, 2006

Freakonomics Blog

This ought to be good

(Earlier post about the book Freakonomics (which has now been translated into Norwegian)) 

Posted by Julie at 12:52 AM | TrackBack

May 8, 2006

The Becker-Posner Blog (ok, Dad)

I remember being ten years old and listening to a conversation between my father and one of his friends. My father said: "I've been practicing now, and I'm much better at winning arguments with my daughter than I used to be." I knew that he knew I was listening, just like I know he knows that I read his blog and so I've read this entry where I he explains why he likes The Becker-Posner Blog.

The Becker-Posner blog is a delight, something I have come to appreciate even more after my eldest daughter started studying international politics and economy and Dad needs access to rapid and pointed analysis to hold his own around the dinner table.

But seriously, I like The Becker-Posner Blog. You have to be awake and in the mood for serious economics and politics when you read the posts - I can't just rush through them. They usually provide a slightly different approach to whatever it is everyone is talking about. And almost everything they post is relevant to my studies. 

The posts my dad links to, for example, discuss some of the issues I was discussing in the park  with college friends today, plus they managed to include Weber's link between Protestantism and capitalism (which we didn't include in our discussion).

Posted by Julie at 10:02 PM | TrackBack

April 23, 2006

Reasons for liking Sundays

Although I've always liked Saturdays best (traditionally - or more precisely: "until I started college" - they were my weekly chance to sleep in and stay up late), Sundays are getting relatively better since I've started working on Saturdays. Here's a list of reasons for liking Sundays. My favorite:

- Any form of activity is automatically admirable. The concept of Sundays is built on that of laziness.

I didn't really feel like I was doing anything today, but because of this concept of laziness, suddenly I was. Lazy stretching and lying on the floor doing and thinking of nothing turned into: "Wow, you went to morning yoga class!?!" and eating chocolate on a friend's couch while complaining about our upcoming (shudder) International Law exam was "a relatively productive study group - for a Sunday."

Posted by Julie at 11:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2006


Endelig! Freakonomics har blitt oversatt til norsk! Denne morsomme, lærerike og... ja, det er vanskelig å overbevise de fleste jeg kjenner om at en økonomibok er gøy, men denne er det virkelig. Les en kort anmeldelse av den engelskspråklige originalen og løp og kjøp! Eller eventuelt klikk og kjøp.

Jeg lurer litt på hvem som har bestemt at den amerikanske boken skal ha en appelsin forkledd som eple på forsiden, mens den norske skal ha en maiskolbe forkledd som banan. Skulle dette siste bilde være mer tiltalende for potensielle norske bokkjøpere? Noen som kan forstå dette? 

Posted by Julie at 12:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 16, 2006

Marginal Revolution

Marginal Revolution is a blog I recommend. They always seem to have good stuff, like a link to the guy who's trying to trade a red paperclip for a house (and he'll probably succeed) or their series on "Markets in everything" showing us all the useless and unusual things that people surprisingly are willing to pay for. Sometimes they follow the same method as the great book Freakonomics: examining things that apparently have nothing to do with economics with an economist's perspective; this is more entertaining than it sounds.

In this post, Alex Taborrak complains about the tyranny of the alphabet. He comments on the fact that authors of papers have their names listed alphabetically, which often means that only those with names that start with A-L get their names into referances. The same goes for blogs. Bloglines lists feeds alphabetically, and I read one of my father's posts much earlier if he posts it in English on Applied Abstractions instead of in Norwegian on Tversover. (And I'm always way behind when it comes to reading Quotes or Vampus' posts)

My own blog, however, is perfectly named. 

Posted by Julie at 6:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006


PBwiki logo

I have already mentioned this site in Norwegian,but I think English-speaking readers should know this too:  

www.pbwiki.com is a very useful website which allows you to create your own personal password-protected wiki. This tool has saved me whole lot of stress. By writing notes, essays, unfinished blog entries and even term papers in my wiki, I know I can always access them from any computer. As long as I have internet access, it's impossible to forget my work at home. By giving friends my password, I can also share my work with them - study groups can share wikis for example. The system is easy to use, very reliable and free - check it out!

Posted by Julie at 8:49 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2006



Sannsynligvis den eneste form for radio jeg kommer til å høre på i lang tid fremover. Et genialt system der du får skreddersydd radiostasjoner etter musikk du allerede liker - slik at du kan oppdage nye favoritter. 

Posted by Julie at 12:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 29, 2006


I'm on a stage in a theater, milling about with 99 other guys as part of a big crowd scene. Up in the theater's balcony, in the dark, is a guy with a rifle. The arrangement is that, once a year, the guy with the rifle gets to shoot one or two of us crowd-scene people dead. I know the odds are strongly against me being a victim. But, y'know, odds, schmodds: The nerves still tense and the sweat still runs when the time comes for Mr. Fate to gun one of us down.

Michael was told that "(...) given survival, living through cancer is fascinating." This is the story of how he found out how true that is. Five years later, he is still tested for cancer and goes through the feeling described above every year.

Stories of "how surviving changed my life" are often so full of clichés that they are impossible to believe or identify with. I think this might be a vicious cycle: we read badly written stories of other people's very emotional and dramatic experiences, and if we ever experience something similar, the only words we have to describe our feelings are the clichés we have previously made fun of. Sometimes there are no words that match our thoughts because (fortunately) most people never have to think them.

Michael's thoughts as he goes through cancer are surprisingly understandable and well-written, and ultimately his description of survival changing his life ("the whole soul-rearranging-thing") is something I can almost identify with. I write "almost", first of all becuase I don't think anyone who hasn't almost died can ever really get it, but also because I think this comment makes a very good point:

I am quite a bit younger than you Michael, but I have had my share of moments. And each time, I think, "well this is really going to change me," and I look at life differently and behave differently. For a while. But then I find my self regressing towards the mean of me. Each time there is a meaningless death around me, or I find myself looking at the ceiling of an ambulance, or in that weird place coming back into my body from anasthesia, I think "now I really know what is important," and I smile at my children differently, and enjoy my time at the breakfast table more. But then a few weeks or months later I find myself forgetting what I thought I knew. And I think to myself "Am I forgetting what I once knew, or did I never really know it?"

I know these things don't happen just for the rest of us to keep perspective, and I know that I am not alone in my inability to keep the right perspective.

Or maybe I just need to get closer to death for it to burn itself into me, indelibly.

Anyway, good for you Michael, if that is an appropriate sentiment.

I hope that I can get where you are, without taking the same path. But, for me, anyway, it may not be possible.

Posted by Julie at 1:48 PM | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Tips ved semesterstart

Ok, det er første skoledag, og det første jeg gjør er å skulke siste halvdel av forelesningen i Examen Facultatum for samfunnsfag for å kladde en bloggpost. Kanskje jeg ikke er den rette personen å hente studietips fra. Likevel... etter å ha lest Aftenpostens bilag om "Jobb og utdanning", kunne jeg ikke motstå fristelsen til å legge til litt. Dessuten hadde jeg kommet ett minutt for sent, og dermed bare fått ståplass. Så tips 1: kom tidsnok til forelesning; tips 2: prioriter!

Aftenposten skriver om duppeditter en student må ha, og jeg er uenig. For det første klarer jeg meg helt strålende uten minnepinne eller digital penn (for ikke å snakke om Ipod med video. Jeg mener det er ren reklame Aftenposten driver med her.) Det jeg derimot er helt avhengig av, er internettsiden som jeg kladder dette innlegget i: www.pbwiki.com. Her kan du skrive og laste opp filer, som dermed vil være tilgjengelige for deg så lenge du har en maskin med internett og greier å huske et passord. Ved å oppgi passordet til venner, kan du dele notater med dem. En kollokviegruppe kan for eksempel dele en wiki. Jeg har delt forelesningsnotater med venner som skal ha eksamen ved å gi dem passordet mitt. Jeg har også skrevet en semesteroppgave fem og fem minutter av gangen fra diverse pcer - slik fikk jeg skrevet den på én dag, samtidig som jeg rakk to cafébesøk og et salsakurs den samme dagen.

Selv om jeg har en laptop, ville ikke hverdagen vært den samme uten min kjære Palm Pilot med sammenleggbart tastatur. Denne "dingsen for studenter" har ikke Aftenposten nevnt, og jeg tror ikke det er så mange på Blindern som har kjennskap til dette verktøyet i det hele tatt. Ved begynnelsen av første semester, var jeg kanskje "hun med den bittelille datamaskinen"; det første de fleste nye venner sa til meg var: "Hva er det?" Men jeg har mulighet til å komme på forelesning med bare en liten håndveske, jeg vet alltid når neste seminarundervisning er, hvor den er og hva jeg burde ha lest, jeg slipper å bekymre meg for om laptopen har nok batteri, og jeg kan ta sykt detaljerte forelesningsnotater. (Til alle som bruker tastatur på forelesning: pass på håndleddene! Pulsvanter anbefales :-))

Mitt tredje tips har ingenting med teknologi å gjøre. Det handler om å la seg selv bli overorganisert - det hjelper. Gjenta for deg selv: "Det er gøy å ha en fanatisk ordenssans", eventuelt bare mantraet jeg deler med en annen overorganisert venninne: "Orden! Orden! Orden!" Dette betyr ikke at du er nødt til å detalj-planlegge hverdagen; vær spontan, for all del. Men skriv pent, legg ting i mapper, vit hvor du har alle dokumenter, enten de er lagret i Word eller i bokhyllen. Og overbevis deg selv, allerede fra første skoledag, om at dette er gøy. Etterpå blir du nødt til å innrømme at du er den ekstremt organiserte typen som du tidligere foraktet, men det vil hjelpe deg når eksamen nærmer seg.

Det får være nok arrogant "Julie vet best" for i dag. De andre er snart ferdig med forelesning.

Posted by Julie at 7:07 PM | TrackBack

January 6, 2006

Book review: Freakonomics


I just finished a great book - Freakonomics! I was reading this book on the bus on the way to the airport, on my way to France to visit a friend. As my friend got on the bus, I greeted her with: "Hi!!! This book is so good!" When asked what it was about, I replied: "Well, there's this economist..." I could see her lose interest instantaneously. So here's the reason why even people who have no interest in economics should read this book.

Yes, there's this economist (Steven D. Levitt) and this writer (Steven J. Dubner), and they decide to write a book using economic theory to answer bizarre questions that don't seem to have any connection to what we normally think of as economics at all. For example: What do children who do well in school have in common? What would be the best way to crush the Ku Klux Klan? How can we discover that school teachers or sumo wrestlers are cheating? What is the connection between someone's name and their level of success? And could legalized abortion have caused crime to drop dramatically in the US? Many of these questions have controversial and/or surprising answers. The book promises not to have any unifying theme or theory, but the moral of the story seems to be that one should always look beyond conventional wisdom and that numbers can tell us fascinating things - things that are interesting even if you have vowed never to be interested in math or money.

Posted by Julie at 1:31 PM | TrackBack

October 9, 2005

Stay Hungry. Stay foolish

Over breakfast a few days ago, I was reading a fairly boring newspaper article that I probably didn't really understand, when my father placed a sheet of paper on top of the article, and said: "Read this instead!" So I did. As my family stressed around in the kitchen, I read Steve Jobs' speech at the 2005 Commencement at Stanford University. I suppose this text is old news by now, having circled the net for a while, but I'm putting a link to it right here, mainly for my non-blogging friends.

You should read it because it is very well written. It's almost poetic in a way you wouldn't expect a commencement speech to get away with without turning mushy. If we allow ourselves some prejudice, it is also surprisingly poetic from someone it would be easy to dismiss as pure computer geek. This speech is good for shaking off such prejudices: it shows a genuine love of learning, rather than of gathering grades; it suggests that a guy wandering around a college campus returning bottles for cash, could be pretty smart; it proves how seemingly worthless knowledge might come to amazingly good use. Above all: it gives valuable life lessons without sounding as pretentious as the very phrase "valuable life lessons" does. Enjoy.

Posted by Julie at 5:24 PM | TrackBack

Hvordan verden egentlig ser ut

Dette bør sees av alle som vil uttale seg om det internasjonale samfunnet og internasjonal økonomi - altså alle studenter på Internasjonale Studier! Det er et foredrag på svensk av Hans Rosling, professor i internasjonal helse, som viser fascinerende data om hvordan godene egentlig er fordelt i verden. Jeg skal ikke skrive mer, for dere bør heller bruke tiden deres på å klikke her.

Hvis tekniske problemer eller ekstremt tidspress gjør det umulig å se foredraget, må dere som et minimum se her for å få med dere i hvert fall ett av de mange poengene Rosling gjør i foredraget. Etterpå kan dere se på software som Rosling bruker for å fremstille disse tallene på en så underholdende og pedagogisk måte, og det kan dere gjøre her hvor dere også kan finne mer tall om samme tema. Jeg synes jeg husker at Janne Haaland Matlary har sagt at hun ikke liker tall, men jeg tror likevel vi bør kjenne til akkurat disse.

Posted by Julie at 4:58 PM | TrackBack