Thursday, 31 August 2017

The getaway!

Summer's definitely over :-). Surprised by the smiley face? Well, let me tell you about the fantastic week in Croatia at the tail end of a heatwave!

Well, maybe not all about it, 'cos I don't really do that these days, primarily because of the amount of time that would take. But maybe enough to make you feel that if you've never thought of visit the country, you ought to think again. :-)

Our trip began and ended at Split airport, right by the Adriatic and surrounded by mountains. Quite the view from the flight. Not to mention the vast golden plateaus scoured by rivers into deep twisting gorges. And for the week in between we explored all of these geographical features in detail in and around the Krka national park and Śibenič!

There were little boat rides to and from a little island in the middle of the river, walks around ruins of forts, walks within freshly renovated ones! Enjoying tiny quiet little beaches along the river, sitting on a submerged rock watching boats sailing by (and having fun getting buffeted their wakes :-)).

All in all a lovely week of relaxed exploring amidst clear blue skies and amounts of sunshine one can only dream of in Norway!

That was a few weeks ago now, and furniture had to be moved and cupboards and drawers had to be emptied and then filled up again. Places found for new things and new places found for old things... much happenings to keep us well occupied! But for a week before all of that, it was lovely to disappear to a magical land of sun sea and sky.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Forgotten notes

I struggle sometimes, to connect the reasons (at least what I think were the reasons, which, given the gap of twelve years can be a bit hazy, to say the least) I first started writing this blog, and indeed the sort of things I used to write about, to my reasons for writing the once-an-end-of-month post these days and also the sort of things I write about.

On the one hand, I feel I have become less open about my life. I somehow no longer write with quite that abandon of freely holding up my thoughts to all that might stumble across them. But at the same time, I always did obfuscate somewhat, when it came to things that I held really close to my heart. By that logic, are there more things in my life today that I hold dear? :) Well, I would like to think so.

But this space, with its almost contradictory mix of privacy in the public domain, is something I do cherish. There is some part of me that likes to be able to just throw out some of the thoughts that flow and swirl within the confines of my mind onto a somewhat better illuminated medium (with all its imperfections, such as they are), so that I may perhaps examine them a little. Maybe find something new and exciting in them!

Case in point, my frustration over Chester Bennington's recent alleged suicide. I mean, OK, so frustration may not be the best way of putting it. But allow me to elaborate. Famous people have been dying from less than natural causes at a ripe old age for about as long as the idea of famous people has been around I suppose, but the 'closeness' I've felt to one of these demises has been insignificant up until rather recently.

There was the whole Robin Williams thing. And to a lesser extent Philip Seymour Hoffman. And now this. Linkin Park wasn't just any old music for me. It wasn't the peer-approved, appreciated-for-a-decade-by-the-time-I-heard-them-for-the-first-time Pearl Jam fandom. Or the disregard for Pink Floyd that was almost because it was so thoroughly universally appreciated by everyone else around. Linkin Park was fun, catchy music with sometimes powerfully relevant feeling lyrics that I could appreciate and love with no sense of judging or being judged. Unadulterated, in other words, by the need to fit in or rebel in any way to any establishment.

I my mind, the Linkin Park stuff I'm most familiar with, coinciding with my time at university and the years immediately after, were never classics. They were far more personal than that. Not distant on some pedestal, but thoroughly approachable, and therefore all the more enjoyable.

Yet, I had not listened to them for months.

Rather than going down the heavily nostalgia (and mildly guilt) driven path of listening to Everything Linkin Park for a few days, I tried to stop and think what is it that Bennington's untimely death meant to me. I have to admit I have found no clear answers. People die, sometimes people you know well. Sometimes they do things that seem impossible to understand and leave a sense of indignation. But, selfish as it sounds, I guess the pain I feel is from a sense of joy taken away. That those songs are no longer just songs I loved to listen to and still bring me a smile every time I listen to them. They are now part of a wider narrative.


I was going to write all that the day after I first read about Chester's death. But somehow couldn't really bring myself to think about it. Too much else is going on in life to worry about rock idols from a decade ago, right. Still, it's important to take a bit of time now and again to toss a few thoughts out into the murky light of late summer nights.

Speaking of which, this is rapidly growing into a summer like no other :). I know, every season is its own thing, but some are more special than others! :D Of course, this is where the obfuscation kicks in, and I refuse to go into any further details. But life is about to change rather dramatically, and I suspect, in ways I still do not fully appreciate. 

However, in the midst of all that, it is nice to remember some things how they used to be, and how they are now, and enjoy the distance we have travelled in between :).

Friday, 30 June 2017

Midnight blue

Clear nights in June in Norway never cease to amaze me with their orange tinged horizon never really fading to full inky black. But somehow, after spending four years full time and many more years part time, I'm no longer surprised that it's well past bedtime, but still light out.

Reminds me of this talk I heard recently about just how well we can adapt to just about anything :-). It was part of a conference called Starmus that happens in Stavanger once a year. It partly reminded me how little time I spend thinking about Physics these days, and partly made me excited about letting my head just roam free with new ideas without them necessarily needing to lead anywhere :-).

The weather's actually warmed up a fair bit these last couple of weeks! Nothing like the heatwaves further south in Europe, but enough to make one confidently declare that summer is indeed here! Somehow I feel this isn't going to be a summer of great physical exertion :-P. But then again, who says every year needs to be the same?!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A dozen years and counting

Finally summer! :-) Well, at least it's made a start, even if a rather stuttering one. But that's just the last week and a bit. Before that, we ended up with some more snow! In May!!! It has been one strange year for weather so far. :-)

And now that the days are properly long and bright, I've started with the cycling! Which is exciting! But I'd love to be out on the bike more. Been running a bit too. Especially the days with me having switched to summer tyres and there being snow all over the roads! Good practice for the yearly relay race in Oslo. :-D

But before all that, there was the weekend trip to New York for the wedding! Meeting up with friends you haven't seen in years can be interesting I suppose, if you're wondering how the intervening years have changed them and you.

So it was fantastic to see that some things don't really change. Like the ease with which you can slip back into old conversational topics. Or how there doesn't seem to be any awkwardness of filling in the gaps that have inevitably appeared in the knowledge of each others' lives.

But with distances and time you also learn to accept the fact that you will draw apart. The thing is to keep trusting that with the real friendships, you'll always be able to pick up where you left off. :-)

The one not so great thing about the trip was realising that I've grown out of much of my familiarity with long distance travel, and the jet lag was pretty brutal. Maybe it's just the living in one place for too long thing. Or maybe I'm just getting old. :-P

Speaking of old, the French Open has been shaping up interestingly! I was discussing with someone today what it is that I find so captivating about the Roland Garros clay. And I realised that it was there that I started following tennis again after the four years of blindness to the outside world that was college. :-) And that was also when Nadal appeared.

I may just have been looking for someone to take over the mantle (of being my favourite active tennis player) from Agassi around the same time, and for the next few years, as his rivalry with Federer grew, Nadal firmly established himself as the one! :-) I guess it's too early to tell, but a tenth may just really be on! I guess we shall find out.

In the meantime, let's hope summer decides to stay a while!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A rush of blood to the head

Another month another blink of the screen.

Hehe that's of course total plagiarism, but sounds good doesn't it?! A Blink of the Screen, in fact, is the name of an interesting collection of short stories by the late Terry Pratchett. With stories spanning many decades and each prefaced with an enlightening little bit of background by the author, it is almost autobiographical in a way. But I digress.

Another month gone by breathtakingly fast. Another trip to the UK over Easter. Back in Bath this time after over 6 months! To think that up until a couple of years ago I'd never actually been to England :-). (A night at Gatwick airport obviously doesn't count.) And this time the weather was exceptionally nice! Not a single day of rain while we were there! And spring in all its colourful glory!

And then we got back to Norway and there was snow! In fact it didn't stop there! Saturday last week, I decided it was finally far enough into the year for summer tyres, and promptly on Monday morning there was half a foot of snow outside!! At the end of April! I mean, where was all this snow in January?! Did it get lost? Like some of those packages that seem to get lost in transit sometimes, travelling round and round between warehouses where no one knows what to do with them...

Maybe not. But the weather's been very weird lately. Hopefully the warmth will appear soon and fill everywhere with colours and flowers and all that spectacular spring stuff :-).

The other thing to look forward to, a trip to the States! New York this time, after a gap of almost four years, and some long overdue meeting up with friends. Weddings are good for that :-D.